Castle Roland

Falls On Deaf Ears Book 1

by Hammy


Chapter 11

Published: 8 Apr 14

Note: I apologize for the lack of providing more chapters. Real Life has gotten a tad busy for me, leaving me with little or no motivation to write. Today, I finally managed to sit down and write what my characters wanted me to write. To be honest, I think they're taking over the story telling now. This was quite not what I had expected to write about, but it is an adventure for me as well as it is also fun to write. A part of the beginning of this story reflects what had happened in one of the earlier chapters, only it has been modified to suit the new changes. Enjoy the reading!

From the End of Ch10 –

Wedge smiled, "It was a pleasure meeting you."

"You too. Bye Sandy." Brandon said as he waved goodbye to Sandy.

Sandy waved, "Good bye! Hope to see you around soon!"

"Maybe we will, Maybe we will."

Brandon took a few steps back then formed a white swirling ripple. Everyone on the bridge gasped as they stared in awe at the new ripple they had never seen before. Brandon stepped into it, stopped and turned around then grinned at everyone. He let his right hand wave and finally disappeared behind the ripple. It closed and everyone on the ship had a lot of questions to ask of Wedge. Wedge held them off by raising his hand. Everyone fell silent as they silently had their own little memorial of Jason. Wedge somehow knew where Brandon was off to and silently wished him 'good luck'.

Ch 11: Mending the past –

Monday May 18, 1992 – Mercy Hospital, Ambridge, OH, 12:30am

A ripple formed in the middle of the hospital hall on the delivery floor. Someone stepped out, wearing a black uniform with a full mask covering its face. It had no weapons of any sort, and the figure was thin and well toned. If someone were to see the figure, they would most likely assume it was a male, by the obvious bulge in the lower region. He punched a button on his uniform's arm and suddenly the figure became invisible.

Screams could be heard down the hall. The masked figure walked down the hall, passing a nearby nurses station. There were no receptionists or nurses at work. He kept on walking towards the delivery room. Once he approached the twin doors to delivery room 2, he pressed another button on his arm and began to walk through the door. Once he was inside, he stood and watched a woman give birth to her child while her husband stood next to her.

She was breathing heavily using the Lamaze techniques as instructed for expectant mothers. She was young, in her early 20's as was her husband. They were both sweating up a storm as the doctors encouraged her to push when needed.

"Trisha, common! Push!" Jerry encouraged while holding her hand and wincing in pain at the same time.

"AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!" Trish screamed.

"How much more doc?" Jerry demanded to know why the labor was taking so long.

"Almost there! One more push, Trish!"

Jerry shifted his sight from the doc to his wife, "One more push, love!"

Trish was breathing heavily, wanting to be done with the pain. She gave one more final big push.

"AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!" A simultaneous scream could be heard as Trish and Jerry both were in pain.

"It's a boy!" Doc Rice exclaimed.

A sweating Trish looked over at her newborn son then groaned in pain as she began to give birth to another child.

The nurses did their usual rounds making sure the first twin was healthy, wrapped him up, and held him while the doc prepared Trish for her second birth.

Thirty minutes later, she gave birth to another boy.

The nurses, once again, did their usual rounds while the doc cut the umbilical cord. Once they were satisfied everything was ok, they wrapped the youngest baby boy up in a white blanket and carried him and his brother to a very exhausted, but happy Trish and Jerry.

In one arm Trish held Matt, in the other she held Eric. "Hi Matt", Trish spoke softly as she touched her oldest son's nose gently. Then she turned her attention to her youngest son. "Hi Eric."

"Wow, they're so small." Jerry said.

"I'll leave you alone with the babies for a few moments, then Trish needs her bed rest. You look like you could use some rest as well Jerry. Don't bother arguing, you'll thank me later for it." Dr. Rice said with finality, as Trish and Jerry were about to protest.

After spending some quality time alone, the nurses came in to make sure everyone got to their rooms to rest for the night.

The masked figure outside their room, which had been watching, chuckled evilly. 'His plans were coming along perfectly' he thought to himself. 'Soon the boys would be his.' A ripple began to form behind him. Once it was large enough, he stepped in and the ripple closed.

Morning came all too fast, and Trish was the first to wake up. She looked around her room, then towards her sleeping husband. The sun shone brightly into the room. Trish took a few moments to admire the sunlight since it had rained for a week straight. She smiled happily and closed her eyes.

She felt a sudden presence and it caused her to open her eyes and search the room, but she found nothing. When the sun shone once again after a stray cloud passed by, she saw a figure standing in front of her bed staring at her, but she couldn't make out his face. He had appeared to be dressed in white. After a second or two of wondering who he was, she fell asleep.

The masked figure was wondering what she was looking at, but could have sworn she was looking directly at him.

After just staring at Trish for what seemed like an hour, he left the room to check up on their newborn sons

'Time to check on Matthew and Eric.' Thought the masked figure. Suddenly, he looked around in alarm. 'I feel a dark presence here; damn I figured I'd have more time! They've found them! I can feel someone lurking around. I hope they haven't noticed my presence.'

The White figure was about to leave Trish's room when a swirling ripple formed directly behind him. He paused for a second and wondered 'what the hell was happening' as he watched a boy, who appeared to look 14, exit the swirling ripple. The white figure suddenly went visible as he hit a button on his arm pad.

"Just who the hell are you?!" The White figure said, preparing for a battle as he began to punch several more buttons.

The boy just looked at him as if he some how knew who it was. "Well, Ryan, I suppose you might as well relax a bit. I knew you somehow time traveled into the past during my battle with Sid and his future self. Please trust me, I am the merged version of Eric and Matt. My name is Brandon." He said with a grin on his face.

Ryan unmasked himself and stared at the boy with his jaw wide open. He wasn't expecting to see his older brothers' merged form anytime soon!

Trish had been carefully watching the situation unfold before her eyes. Jerry was still exhausted from the previous night and was sleeping on the chair to the right of Trish's bed.

"Boys, time out! What is happening here?!" Trish nearly shouted as she began to adjust herself so she could sit up straight in bed.

"Well…" Ryan and Brandon said at the same time.

Ryan looked at Brandon and nodded slightly, "You go first."

Brandon returned the nod and looked at Trish, "I'm sorry if this may shock you, mom, but…" Trish immediately raised her hand, stopping Brandon from any further explanations.

"Woah! Wait a minute! My twins were JUST born!" Trish said emphasizing the word 'just'. "How could you two be my children?!"

Brandon sighed, "Mom, trust me, please. Your newborn twins are at a great risk. If we can't stop the baby-napper now, everything that we worked for up to this point will have been a waste! Here, let me show you please? I would like you to read my mind, its faster, please?" Brandon pleaded, as he slowly walked closer to Trish. "You know there isn't any harm in reading someone's mind."

Trish sighed and nodded. "I usually don't make this a habit, but since you insist…" She closed her eyes and began her mind scan of Brandon's memories. What she wasn't expecting was: Brandon had two sets of memories and she had trouble sorting things out. Once she realized which memory belonged to who, things were easier for her. Since Trish was much younger and hadn't forgotten most of her training, she made quick work of both boy's memories in a matter of a few minutes.

When Trish was done, she opened her eyes and gasped. "I see now. I still don't know how it's possible you're here, but I think I'm about to find out. What do you two plan to do? I know Brandon's time is limited and he would need to take care of things fast. I'm hoping you and Ryan can work things out." Trish said as she was shifting her attention back and fourth between both boys.

Brandon and Ryan looked at each other and nodded. "We don't have much time, the dark presence is making his move. We need to hurry. Hold on!" Brandon said just before he teleported them to the nursery, which Ryan was going to run out the door to, but they had teleported out before Ryan could move. Trish simply shook her head and began to slowly get out of bed. 'Something still doesn't feel right, yet something tells me I have a choice to make. I'm still unsure of making a decision based on my current physical state. If only I had the energy…' Trish thought to herself as she looked at Jerry while proceeding to slowly make her way towards the door.

Upon their arrival at the maternity ward, Brandon and Ryan looked around looking for Matthew and Eric, but it took a while to find them. There were at least a dozen newborns in the room! Once he had spotted the names he was looking for, they immediately saw that the worst-case scenario was indeed true, there were no babies in there!

'Damn it, We're too late!' Brandon thought.

Ryan heard what Brandon had thought, even if it wasn't out loud. I don't think we are too late, I can still sense him here! He's close! Ryan sent to Brandon through telepathy as he began to look around more.

Brandon closed his eyes briefly and looked towards the window. "There!"

Ryan turned just in time to see the black figure running past them on the other side. Ryan then began pursuit, hoping to catch the baby-napper before it was too late. Brandon simply teleported himself to the end of the black figure's running route. He somehow knew which way he would head, took a chance and placed himself at the very same spot the black figure would have created a ripple. Once he was there, he turned himself invisible.

When Ryan began catching up to the black figure, the black figure chuckled as he looked over his shoulder, "You'll never catch me!" The black figure was getting frustrated with carrying two babies at once. He had tried to reach over to the controls on his arm, but was unsuccessful. He had to make a decision and fast. Thinking he could make an excuse to his boss, he threw the green-eyed boy, Eric, at Ryan, punched a few buttons on his arm pad and a ripple began forming several meters in front of him. Suddenly Brandon stepped in front of the ripple with his right arm pointed directly at the opening of the ripple. His palm was facing the ripple and quickly shrunk it by closing his hand. Satisfied it was completely gone, he turned his attention to the black figure running towards him.

The black figure had been watching Ryan from behind turned his head, expecting to see the ripple, but got completely thrown off guard and taken by surprise to see Brandon standing in front of the disappearing ripple he had formed. "What the fuck?!" The black figure said as he screeched to a halt, stopping a few feet from Brandon.

Brandon immediately tilted his head to the right and grinned. Matt began to float out of the black figure's arm and towards Brandon. The black figure was still frozen with fear as he began trembling. He had not encountered another person as powerful as his leader, but he could surely sense Brandon's power. It was much higher than his leader's. Once Matt was nestled in Brandon's arms, he snapped his fingers and the black figure was frozen solid. He could not move, he could not hear or see what was happening. He just stood there, motionless. Brandon grinned and began walking towards Ryan.

Ryan heard running footsteps and turned to see who it was. Trish was running so fast, she had to stop and catch her breath before she could take Eric from Ryan's arms. Brandon finally reached Ryan as Trish was cradling Eric. She noticed the black figure standing motionless and ignored him as he was no longer a threat. Brandon handed Matt to Ryan and took a few steps backwards.

"My time is up and my work here is done." Brandon said grinning as small white dots began to form around his body. Soon, they multiplied and engulfed his body. The light was so bright, Ryan and Trish had to turn their heads away so they didn't blind themselves from the bright light. When the light faded, there stood two boys, Matt and Eric.

Ryan and Trish turned to look back to where Brandon was standing and saw two boys. Trish immediately knew who they were and simply gave them a warm smile. "I guess I'll have a pair of very handsome boys in the future." Trish said as she continued smiling.

Ryan couldn't believe what he was seeing. He never expected to witness such an event. He was told it was very rare and didn't happen very often, but was also rumored by several council members that there would be no more merging. The council members were obviously wrong with their predictions.

Trish had noticed all three boys were wearing lockets and she silently wondered if the information would 'carry over' into her and Wedge's lockets so they could archive the information.

Trish was about to say something when the elevator door opened. A tall young man exited the elevator. He first looked to his right and then his left. He wasn't expecting what he saw, but he recovered quickly, and rushed to Trish, Ryan, Matt and Eric. Trish managed to stop him before he could speak by holding up her free hand.

"Hi bro. I realize you think this looks silly, but the man in black was going to take my boys into the future. It seems my own sons managed to rid the universe of evil and return back in time to fix things."

"Oh" Wedge replied with little concern. When he looked at Matt, he could sense there was something familiar about him. "Have we met before?"

Matt nodded his head, "Yep! You wanted me to remind you stop being stubborn and be a family again."

Wedge was about to form a smart aleck reply, but he stopped himself as he read a part of Matt's mind. To say he was surprised was an understatement. He fell to the floor on his knees with tears in his eyes. Trish was surprised to see the new change in her brother. She held out her hand towards her brother, to which he looked up at. He held out his and Trish dropped the silver locket in his hand. Wedge let out a gasp as he looked at the locket then back at Trish.

"Thanks, sis. This means a lot." Wedge said with tears forming in his eyes.

Trish smiled then motioned him for a hug. Wedge then stood up and gently gave his sister a much-needed hug. All three boys were sporting mile wide grins on their faces as they were finally happy things had settled.

When Wedge broke the hug, he looked at his nephew in Trish's arm. "So, who is this lil guy here?"

"This is Eric, and the other one is Matt." Trish said as she nodded in baby Matt's direction.

Wedge smiled then looked at the older twins. "Then who are they?" Wedge said as he nodded to older Eric and Matt.

Trish giggled, "Well, it's a long story, but these two are my boys, from the future. A very distant future. In fact, they are the same twins I just introduced you to."

Wedge's jaw hit the floor. He struggled to form words in his mouth, but couldn't. All three boys broke out laughing, till Trish hushed them. Trish also knew they were going to cease to exist, as she knew they had successfully changed the past and made it 'right'. A few tears began to form in her eyes as she saw the beginnings of the boys' existence ceasing.

"I suppose I gotta wait a decade, give or take a few additional years before I get to see you again." Trish said as the tears were fully flowing from her eyes.

Eric and Matt looked at each other and grinned. They took their lockets off their necks and held it out. Suddenly, the lockets began to float and the boys began to fade at a faster rate. Seconds later, they disappeared, and two small white dots appeared in their place. The dots began moving towards the lockets. Once they reached the lockets, they disappeared inside them, causing them to glow. Once the glow faded, the lockets floated towards Trish. She held out her free hand and the lockets kept floating towards her. Suddenly, Trish's own locket began to glow and emit an eerie tone. The tone didn't last all that long, but once Trish was able to regain her senses, she looked at her own locket then looked for the other two. It was then that she noticed they had been absorbed by her own locket.

Trish looked up at the black figure and the figure was beginning to fade, just like the boys did. When it was completely gone, nothing else happened. Ryan suddenly remembered it might happen to him, he turned to Wedge, "Wedge, please hold Matt. I might fade as well, since I am from their timeline." Ryan said as he prepared to give Matt to Wedge.

Wedge put the locket around his neck then stretched his arms out to hold Matt. Once he had him secured in his arms, Ryan smiled and began to fade. Once he had faded, another white dot formed and a gold locket formed. This time, the locket landed in Trish's hand. Suddenly another locket formed right beside the gold. Trish was now holding the two lockets with a questioning look. She wasn't sure what to make of those, but she somehow knew what to do.

Wedge let out a shallow gasp, "Well sis, I suppose we should pay a visit to the family council and find out what this all means. I think I know, but it won't hurt to confirm what it is."

Trish nodded, "I agree. But you know very well I have no great love towards them." She was about to say something more to explain her dislike towards the council when the alarms sounded. Trish looked around then suddenly remembered what the alarms were about. "We'd better get these two back to their beds before then." Trish said as she turned to head back to the maternity ward. Wedge nodded wondering what his sister was going to say and followed her. He didn't dare try to read her mind as he had negative results the last time he did.

Trish hurriedly walked around the corner, followed by Wedge, and approached the maternity ward station. Once she had got there, she could hear the nurses talking.

"Better inform the parents." Gladys cautioned. "Also, alert the other nurses' station down the hall for extra help just in case! Be sure to tell them to bring something to keep the mother and the father calm!"

Haley shot back a "Yes ma'am" as she headed out the maternity ward's nurses' station but stopped immediately and saw Trish holding one of her own boys. Haley quickly turned back into the maternity ward station and told Gladys to cancel the alarm as the mother had arrived with the twins. Both Gladys and Haley sighed with relief. Jerry, having been woken up by the alarm came running out of Trish's room looking for Trish. He didn't have to look far as she was standing right outside the maternity ward station. Jerry made a dash to her and arrived there quickly. He tried to say something then noticed Wedge standing there and gave Trish a puzzled look. Trish simply shook her head that she wanted to talk to him later and Jerry remained silent. Gladys and Helen came out of the maternity ward station after canceling the alarm.

Helen carefully took Eric out of Trish's arm to which she carefully let her. Helen went inside the ward to return Eric to his bed. When she came out, she walked to Wedge and did the same. Once she had Matt, she went inside and put him in his bed. Helen stayed there for a few minutes running checkups, making sure they were ok.

Gladys, who had been silent for a few minutes decided to finally speak up, "You gave us quite a scare, honey. Please don't do that again and also you should notify someone from the nurse's station if you wanted to do what you just did. We managed to get security to stand down and everything calmed down a bit. I suggest you rest up some more so we can release you from the hospital." She said with a small warm smile. She then turned to grab a wheelchair for Trish so she could 'wheel' her back to her room. After all, it was hospital policy.

Once Gladys came back out with the wheelchair, she helped Trish in and wheeled her to her room while everyone but Helen followed. Once they arrived in Trish's room and Trish was lying in her bed, Gladys turned to the two men, "Jerry, you need to rest in your bed and you sir, make sure he does!"

Wedge nodded and Jerry was about to protest but a giggle from Trish had stopped him. Jerry knew all too well not to mess with women and now wasn't a very good time.

Jerry sighed then turned to look at his wife after Gladys left, "So honey, what really happened?"

Trish looked at Jerry then Wedge, "This could take a while. From what I saw in the boys' minds and from what the lockets are telling me, it's best if you two pull up a chair and listen. I'll try and summarize the events and it's quite a mess, these events." Trish said with a small sigh before she continued, "It all started here, on this day, with Matt's kidnapping."

Both men pulled up a chair, leaned back, looked at each other before looking at Trish. Trish had spent several hours explaining the various events of Eric and Matt's lives, as well as Andy and Ryan's. Wedge's was not to be excluded. Once the story telling was finished, everyone sighed and Gladys came in to shoo out the men so Trish could rest.

The next few days flew by and Trish was home with Eric and Matt. Jerry was one happy father. Trish and Wedge patched things up, no matter how sour their childhood had seemed to be, but they 'kissed and made up'. This made Trish happier and Wedge became more caring towards others.

As time went on, Trish had been very wary about her surroundings. At a few times, she could have sworn she saw a shadow move, but she shrugged it off and simply thought it was her imagination. She still couldn't shake the feeling that she was being watched. She had suspected her family elders were responsible for how she felt. Trish remembered when she was a child, her father had told her what had happened between the elders and her father. Her father believed that the elders were trying to steal his twins away from him, but their intentions were different. They claimed to have the power to foresee the future and possible futures, depending on the direction of a specific person's life, namely Trish's father. This was all she knew and could remember of her father as everything else was drawing a blank. Trish tried her best to remember what else her father said, but couldn't remember. She didn't really give her father much more thought, as she hadn't heard from him since she had just turned 13. She scowled to herself at the thoughts of her father leaving her and the family, as if something else was more important.

During this time, Trish had completely lost track of time and wandered around. It had happened before, but not as bad as it did this time. When Trish came to her senses, she looked around and noticed she was standing right at the bank of a creek. The water was flowing smoothly towards her left. It was a beautiful piece of land, there were many pink and blue wild flowers across the meadow, beyond the creek, opposite from Trish. As she looked around, a gentle breeze blew towards her and she smiled to herself thinking how wonderful it would be to build a house and raise her family in this specific piece of land.

"I wouldn't be so sure of that." A deep voice spoke from behind, causing Trish to immediately spin around and search the area. She didn't find anything or sense anyone nearby, but she didn't let her guard down.

"Whose there?" Trish spoke in a calm voice, yet slightly above her normal speaking tone.

There was silence, but a gentle breeze. "Show yourself!" Trish commanded, slightly louder than before.

Suddenly, several shadows from some distant and nearby trees began to shift and move, as if there was a person there, but wasn't. Trish furrowed her brows and silently hoped it wasn't who she thought it was. She watched the slow moving shadows approach her with caution. She counted 5 shadows moving, the rest appeared to be shadows from the trees swaying by the gentle breeze. Once the shadows were within 5 feet from her, they began to take shape. The first shadow resembled a man. Once it took shape, color was starting to appear. Once the man had fully gotten rid of all the black, he appeared to be in his 60's. He ran his hand over his grey hair, from front to back before opening his eyes, smiling.

Trish still didn't realize who it was and was about to get defensive, until the old man held up his hand. "Ah baby girl, it's been a long time, but you weren't supposed to sense our presence." The old man furrowed his brows inwards wondering how she could have sensed them watching her.

Trish's eyes went wide in a hurry as she struggled to form words. The only person who called her baby girl was her father. "It can't be! You can't possibly be alive! After all this time, you never left any indication you were alive! Mom was…" Trish finally spoke after she got over the shock from hearing those words. She quickly shook her head and continued after a brief pause, "There was this nagging feeling I was being watched and I saw movement out the corner of my eye. You should do better in masking your presence."

"I see." The old man started while feeling a bit hurt from Trish's remark about being dead. "Nonsense. I'll explain later, please trust me…"

Trish held up her hand cutting her father off, "Trust? TRUST?! YOU want ME to trust you?!" Trish said with added emphasis on trust, you, and me. Trish didn't stop there and continued on, "After what happened LAST time?!"

Trish was about to continue as another shadow took shape and spoke at the same time, "Listen to dad, sis. I know it's hard, but I've seen the things he has showed me. It is time you learned the full reason why dad had to disappear for a short time when we were young."

Trish let out a gasp as she was surprised who showed up. "Not you too, Wedge! You should know that by now!"

As Wedge fully appeared into view, he softly spoke, "It has to be done…" Wedge lowered his voice to a dead serious tone, "…it concerns your twins, and everything around them. There is too much at stake here and the elders risked a lot just by coming here. If the enemy finds out…" Wedge pointed to the other three shadows behind him as Trish interrupted him.

Trish nearly shouted, "Enemy?! What enemy?! There hasn't been any since the hospital incident!"

Trish's dad stepped in closer, gently placing his hand on her shoulder, "For that, we need to show you."

Trish was about to speak, but everyone immediately disappeared from the area. The remaining shadows slowly disappeared, as if someone was fading into nothingness.

Somewhere, deep in a heavily dense forest, moments later –

Trish, her father, Wedge, and the 3 shadows had appeared right in the middle of what looked like a gathering hall. The hall was quite large, large enough to fit 100 people if need be. The hall was oval in shape, the ceiling, too, was curved, but the walls were perpendicular to the ground. Off in the small end of the room was a single brown chair. An old man was sitting there watching the events take place, with a grin on his face. Trish couldn't help but look around the room in awe however; her fascination with the room was cut short as she finally remembered what she wanted to say, but decided to hold off.

"What the hell… why are we here?"

"It is safer." Another shadow quickly took shape of a woman who appeared to be in her 20's.

"We can protect you here." A voice came from behind as yet another shadow formed that of a much older woman.

As the final shadow formed, it took the shape of a young boy. The boy remained silent as he watched Trish look around.

"I suppose I don't have a choice."

The old man who was seated began to stand up. "Ah but my dear, we all have a choice. You are here because of your choices and actions back in the hospital… however little they might seem. Yes you did have help, but that still doesn't account for the fact that you did tell those two to act quickly."

"I don't understand, how did you…?" Trish asked, feeling slightly alarmed how someone could know of the events that took place in the hospital.

"Ah, I suppose I should tell you, I am the family council elder. I'm sure you've heard that term before."

Trish searched her memory before responding, "I believe so, but…"

"No buts!" The old man slowly walked towards her, with his hands behind his back as he spoke, "You are partially responsible for the changes in time, along with that future son of yours." The elder paused for a bit before continuing, "Still responsible, nonetheless. You see everything that was supposed to happen… didn't. Up until now, I wasn't sure if it was good or bad. I know now, that if we continue as it is, with letting everything flow naturally, it'll only get worse."

Trish wasn't sure everything made sense, but gasped as her locket began to glow. The old man's locket from within his body had caused him to glow as a whole. Unknown to Trish, Wedge's locket also began to glow. Nothing could have prepared Trish for what happened next.

One by one, various floating holographic images of different futures began to appear before Trish and the council. At first they started slowly, as if the elder was pulling 'memories' out of Trish's locket. It was the very same locket Eric and Matt had in their future. Only that it split into two, one was for Wedge, the other, Trish. Once the first few images were visible, Trish looked closely at several and recognized a few events that had happened. As she kept staring at those images, the elder had to chuckle softly.

Trish heard his soft chuckle and stared at him. "You find this amusing how?"

"The fact that if you weren't so bullheaded as a child, you would have known of this type of technique. It's quite easy to learn, yet hard to do. We'll get into that later, but I need to show you something." As the elder finished his last statement, he nodded to the other council members, including Wedge, and then slowly closed his eyes as if to focus deeply. They returned their nods and the room began to glow even brighter. More holographic images started to appear before them in a circle. Those images were of different universes and Trish couldn't understand what or why she was being shown this, but expected an explanation once they were 'done'.

As the images started to appear at a slower pace, the elder began to slowly open his eyes and let a small grin escape before returning to his normal expression. He was slightly amused how surprised Trish was yet impressed how well she was handling the visions and images. He knew this day would come, one way or another. He had foreseen it, even with the change in time. It was by choice and a right one at that. He let out a sigh of relief once the final image appeared. The room was now filled with hundreds of images; each one was about the same size as a 17" LCD monitor. Some were slightly smaller than others.

As the glow from the lockets died down to a small shimmer, the elder walked closer to Trish. "You were meant to see this." He looked around him waving his arm at all the images, as if to emphasize the word "this" being the images themselves before continuing, "This one here," As if the image could be moved on command, it moved closer to Trish and the elder, expanding in size for easier viewing, "is our current timeline. This shows the future, should the wrong choices be made."

Trish was still puzzled, but she looked into the image and witnessed the events before her.

Alternate future 1:

The image suddenly faded from black to white then it showed 2 twin boys playing outside, waiting for their dad. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining with no clouds in sight. No one was watching the boys, they were by themselves, wrestling in the grass to see who could pin the other the longest. Suddenly, a car came in the driveway and the boys stopped to look up to see who it was.

The boy with green eyes shouted, "Hi Uncle Wedge!" while running towards him. As he got closer, his happy face suddenly changed to something of concern. The look on his Uncle's face was not a happy look. It looked as if someone had died. The other boy with blue eyes sensed something was wrong and came running towards his brother's side. Their uncle knelt down and hugged them saying how sorry he was. The boys still didn't understand why, until they read his mind. As if they were a switch, they immediately lost it and cried their hearts out. Their mother came rushing out so fast wondering why the sudden change, till she saw her brother. She too, fell to her knees crying and repeating 'no'.

Suddenly the images changed and showed how one event affected the future. The future was in shambles; both boys had become emotionally unstable and turned bad. They destroyed everything that was good in the world. The image suddenly ends and returns to the present events.

As Trish watched the events take place in the current image she was looking at, the image slowly crept backwards, to show how one single event affected the rest of the universes. One by one and so slowly, every universe had been conquered. Once the images began to blank out, that universe was destroyed and another was targeted in the same manner. When there were a few universes left, Trish looked at them much closer to see if they were destroyed or not. Much to her surprise, they remained intact. Her sudden sigh of relief was replaced by a gasp as she watched her son's appear and began to destroy everything. They had encountered resistance, but nothing major, up until they came face to face with a powerful group. The battle had taken its toll on both, Trish's boys and the said group they were fighting against. In what seemed like an endless battle, the group had finally gained the upper-hand, but only for a brief moment. They used that moment to take advantage of the situation, which caused Eric and Matt to lose their life.

Trish had some tears coming down her face. She could barely form words as the whole sight was too emotional for her. One thing she had noticed was; her boys seemed older than they were in her own visions. Before Trish could mutter a word, the elder stopped her, "I know you have had some visions. Beware of false visions as they could lead you to make the wrong choice. The choice you made was to prevent harm from befalling Eric." Trish could only nod and the elder continued, "Whatever happens, happens for a reason. There is always a reason behind each event, no matter how small or large they are. Take Eric's deafness for example: If he was meant to become deaf, it was probably to prevent the exact same thing that will happen in that very little image we just viewed. That is a small part of it, but it changed too much. As the saying goes in physics, 'for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.' As I said before, this was only a small part." The elder pushed the image back and somehow the rest of the images began to show events from different universes and how their own universe affected everyone else's. The outcome was a big negative, some universes were destroyed, some could barely defend themselves, where a certain few universes were able to hold their own.

Trish was speechless for a few minutes. As she tried forming the words to speak, the elder wanted to interrupt her again, but Trish held her hand up as if to stop him from saying anything. "Please, let me." The elder nodded and Trish continued, "If I looked at this correctly, my own sons became the heart of evil and destroyed and conquered several universes, just to become stronger, but what about the ones that have held their own? They still suffered losses, yet are holding strong. I had assumed it wasn't possible!"

The elder smiled to himself, "It is very possible. I have seen it myself, that bunch is quite powerful and they continue to grow powerful every day. I have looked into their futures and they both hold hope. At first I feared the worst as they might have abused that power, but I looked at how they handle situations and I must say I was quite impressed. Sadly, that was where everything ended. I only showed you the beginning and the end. Why you ask? Both boys died as a result of abusing their own power. The locket can only withstand so much evilness and once evil takes over, it self destructs on the user, but the user isn't aware of it until he or she goes all out. It's the final fail-safe key of the locket, the key to prevent any more harm. I will explain more on that later, but I think this is enough for now… unless you want to see more."

Trish spent a few moments thinking before finally making a decision. "If so, I've seen quite enough. If fate has Eric becoming deaf, then so be it." At that, all the images started to rapidly fade till all but one remained. The one very image, on its own, moved closer to Trish, revealing a very nice prosperous future with peace, pure peace and love. Sure, there was some evil, but there was nothing that threatening. What surprised Trish the most was seeing her sons all grown up, yet everything around them was completely different. It was as if several hundred years had passed by, yet her boys seemed unaffected by time. Not only that, but she also saw another set of twins, slightly younger than her boys. She, at first, assumed it was Wedge's children, until she saw Wedge appear in the image with his own children following him from behind. Trish had to chuckle to herself as she finally realized how truly beautiful her family had become. A single tear started to form in her eye and she wiped it away. The image slowly moved back on its own then shrunk until there was nothing left. Everyone's lockets and bodies began to resume their normal color, after the locket had stopped glowing.

The elder simply smiled and put his hand on Trish's shoulder. "What you just saw is a possible future… if all the right choices are made. I cannot make them for you; they need to be in your decision. Today needed to happen, otherwise everything falls apart.

Trish smiled to herself; "I suppose this is it, then?"

The elder shook his head 'no', "Ah, but there is more. It's time for your training. You need to be better prepared and have the knowledge of that." He finished his sentence and pointed directly at the locket that was around Trish's neck.

"I thought I was taught everything I needed to know?"

"You were not. Your father made a choice and a good one at that. At first I was skeptical, but as time went by, I realized you could do so much more if we trained you later. It was a test to see if you were emotionally prepared to handle what we do. You passed."

Trish hummed to herself as she took some time to think about the elder's words. After a while, she was able to reach a decision, "I suppose I have no choice, but to agree. I am a mother and I still have a responsibility to my boys… and they need me."

"If what you are going to ask, the answer is: they will never know you were gone. Time has no meaning here. From here, we can go forward and backwards in time, whenever we want… within reason, of course. When you are done, you will be returned to the exact same spot at the exact same time you disappeared. The only difference is; you will have far more knowledge and experience to take home with you. You'd be better prepared to care for your boys. Wedge will help you, until its time for me to train you. When it's time for your boys to receive the training, you will have to do it and you alone. How you do it, is your choice." The elder turned around halfway and suddenly stopped as if he had forgotten something important, "One last thing: When that future son of yours time traveled, he allowed some evil to follow thru the time portal and into this world. It was a small amount, but over time, it will expand. Your mission is to track it down and report your findings to us. Once we have a better idea of what we are dealing with, we'll eliminate it. Such evil must not exist here."

As the elder turned to walk away, Trish hummed to herself, causing the elder to stop in mid-step, "This group in another universe, the one that survived, what did they call themselves?"

The elder continued walking after a long pause. Once he was almost at his chair, his very words caused the room to reverberate, "Clan Short."

Trish had heard of that name before, but she couldn't figure out when and where she had heard it. She decided to put it in the back of her mind and turn her attention to the 5 members of the council eagerly waiting to Train her. She suddenly realized what it was and held up her hand as if it were holding something, but nothing was there. Trish smiled and suddenly a book appeared in her hand. The title was, 'Memories: The Gathering'. Trish grinned, "You mean to tell me that what I just saw before the final image was the exact same thing as my husband's favorite book?!"

The elder stopped just before sitting down and smiled. "Quite correct. The universe works in mysterious ways."

Trish craned her head and looked over her shoulder then closed her eyes as silently thanked him for showing her this. Once she turned her attention back to her brother, the book in her hand suddenly vanished and she returned her hand to her side.

The elder, then sat down after witnessing what Trish had done. He began to think silently to himself, 'Wise decision, putting them in the back of your mind... for now.. I am almost positive you had wanted to do research on them, like I had done. They have their own problems and issues to deal with. Until there is peace, I am not sure if there'll be time for a friendly visit.'

"I suppose its time to begin." Wedge began. "Prepare… to defend yourself!"

Trish wasn't sure whether to take her brother seriously or not. She was slightly confused at their intentions, but decided to play along. "Ok, if you say so…" Trish took up a defensive stance with her right arm pulled back and her left was low, as if expecting a direct attack. Wedge simply snickered, hoping he could catch his sister off-guard. Trish sensed a powerful attack coming on and prepared herself to raise the barrier at the last minute. She somehow knew it would protect her from anything, but was slightly skeptical since it was a 5 on 1 fight. The rest of the council members took up a stance. Her dad began to form some sort of lightning style energy, where the rest just moved their hands around. Trish tried to look for a weakness within everyone, but found none. She had thought she knew of her brother's weakness, but it seemed as if he had overcome it. Wedge made the first move and launched himself directly at her, the rest of the members followed a second later. Trish's eyes grew wide as she nearly panicked from the intensity of the incoming attack. She wasn't prepared for such an attack.

Two seconds later, a loud boom could be heard throughout the room, echoing down the halls. The elder immediately stood up from his seat. "That was… not possible!"

Wedge was starting to slowly lose his smirk, as he couldn't believe what he was seeing. Their father immediately jumped backwards, as did the rest of the council members. Wedge slowly moved backwards and waited for the dust to clear. His eyes widened at the sight of the barrier Trish had used. "I see you've managed to summon the ultimate barrier with ease. But how…?"

The elder spoke up as he approached Trish. Trish began to relax some and the barrier disappeared. "I see her locket has been actively 'communicating' with her on an unconscious level. She may not know it, but it does happen. It appears that part of the reason her sons will be so strong, lies within that locket."

Trish turned to face the elder wondering why he said it in that manner, since she has 2 boys. The elder caught this and continued, "Some history on the locket has made me wonder that, myself. You see, I am almost 1000 years old, yet I look 70. Also, do not judge me by my frail state and lithe body. I am much more powerful than the 5 members standing before you. However, you posses the locket that unlocks the boys' abilities to surpass me. Yes, the locket is like a key. A key that unlocks the powers from within. You must earn them before the locket becomes one with the host's body. When this happens, the host's body goes thru all sorts of changes. Your reflexes become faster, your thoughts, your thinking, your knowledge, and finally, your sense of good and bad. In time, you will begin to notice what new abilities you have earned. Everyone is different, with different abilities. Some are granted speed, others are energy, and some have knowledge. There have been a few with almost everything. And before you ask, since you have 2 boys and soon to have 2 more in your later years, once your second set of twins are born, the locket will split into three. Your piece will become one with your body, while the other two will be worn on your child's' necks, until they are fully ready to absorb the locket as they grow older. You may not have noticed this, but your locket has already split. Each of your sons has one to himself. It is hidden for its own protection. Only they will know where to find it and when. One last thing: we live long lives, and you might have to move often. The only time you don't age is when the locket is merged with the host body. I am sorry to say your husband will pass away, long before you do." The elder stopped and paused in thought then continued, "There have been some questions you wanted to ask, but allow me to clear that up for you. Since your future sons ceased to exist and they became one with the locket, it only makes sense for their lockets to be absorbed by yours. After all, they came from your locket originally and since they cannot exist in two places at once, the lockets merged together and were absorbed by yours. They will split up again when its time."

Trish knew this was a lot to handle for her, but she had to know, "Isn't there a way to prolong his life? Or anyone's?"

The elder slowly shook his head as he returned to his seat. "Not in this universe."

"Then what is the point of all of this? Why do I have to learn how to protect my sons when I can do it myself as it is? What's the point of living a long life without my husband?"

The elder smirked and disappeared, only to appear directly in Trish's face in the next nanosecond! "This is why!" The elder pointed directly to an image that was not there a minute ago. The image showed Trish's son traveling through time, and breaching a small fabric in time, causing evil to escape its current plane. As the elder looked at the image then back at Trish, he continued, "That future son of yours breached a hole in the time portal, causing some evil to escape their world into ours! Like I said, they haven't shown themselves yet! They know something of power exists in our world and will stop at nothing to acquire it! I can still sense how powerful they are, I might not be able to succeed, should we fight one another." Just as the elder had appeared in Trish's face, he returned to his seat in the same manner and continued, "That barrier of yours will protect you from direct attacks which you expect. You didn't expect me to do what I just did; this is why you are here. You have plenty of time before evil makes its move, but will your boys be ready?"

Trish looked at the elder with a glare that should send shivers down one's spine. "They will be ready. I'll see to it that they do."

"So be it. A wise choice to do so. Your training shall continue… until you are able to face me. Know this: your brother and father do not have what it takes to cause me to break a sweat. I'd like to know if you could." The elder finished with a smirk on his face then closed his eyes, as if to rest. He then immediately disappeared from where he was standing and reappeared seated in his chair. Upon opening his eyes, he decided to give Trish some sense of hope, "Regarding your husband, only you will find a way to prolong his life."

Trish sighed wondering how she could accomplish prolonging her husband's life. She decided to put the thought in the back of her mind for later, but wouldn't totally forget it. Once she felt ready, she turned to face her brother and father. "I'm ready."

Wedge looked at father, "The training world, dad?"

Their father simply nodded without comment. Satisfied with his answer, Wedge turned his attention to his sister, walked towards her and placed his hand on her shoulder. He grinned just as Trish started to speak.

"Where are you taki…." Trish got out before the group disappeared from the oval room.

The elder let out a sigh as the room was now empty. His thoughts began to wander and he began to see this as a sign of hope, even if it was small. 'Good luck, my granddaughter. You will need it.'

To be continued…

Author's notes:

Sorry it took a while, life kept me busy, but all of these ideas have been building up in my head. It seems the characters have different plans for the story compared to what I had wanted to do, oh well, but it sure was fun to write! Looks like things are getting interesting for Trish, you'll need to buckle in the safety belts and enjoy the ride! I'd expect more roller coaster rides in the next few chapters!


Editor's notes:

What a unique and utterly amazing imagination you have. I have no idea which future you are planning to take us to, but I am so glad I got some popcorn for the journey. Well done. - Dibs

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