Castle Roland


by Kyle Aarons

In Progress

Chapter 13

Published: 3 Mar 16


Kyle Aarons

While COSAM and in particular, Bryan Caldwell, worked to overcome everything from interference with radar to keeping power flowing from ocean wave generators, the newly recruited parents used the computer links provided by COSAM to start a wide variety of research angles. Even as the five boys slept, the adults stayed up and started putting pieces of a gigantic puzzle together. The problem was, none of them knew what the puzzle even looked like, so even finding related pieces within all the reports was proving frustrating.

Bryan didn't waste time turning the hotel into his base of operations. He used hard cash to arrange for adjoining rooms so the small group could easily move from one room to another through internal doors without attracting attention of others staying in the hotel. At the same time he offered a considerable amount of money for those in nearby rooms to switch so he could have rooms available for those like his boys, should they find more.

At the same time, Stan called in a couple of the corporation's big gun lawyers to find a way to buy the hotel outright. This, he figured, would allow COSAM to do whatever they wanted to the building without having to explain itself too much. Between cold hard cash and technological bonuses offered to the parent company of the hotel, a preliminary agreement was reached before midnight.

Knowing he was going to own the building, allowed Bryan to turn his full attention on getting things set up the way he wanted. It only took an hour for Bryan to set up each room with a link directly to Cynthia's mainframe through COSAM secured and hardened communications networks. COSAM also flew in generators and other hardware to keep the hotel fully powered and dropped off hardened palm phones for all the adults and kids with him, along with a case of additional ones should more kids be found. This allowed the other three adults to focus in on tasks assigned to them by Stan; who also remotely brought in a pair of researchers from one of COSAM's Antarctic research labs to help sort through data and determine truth from fiction.

Lyle's dad focused his efforts on first locating the girl his son seemed to always be in competition with on the motocross circuit. Once she was located and a COSAM security team sent to protect her, he then expended his search to look for other kids who seemed to have made a name for themselves over the past few years. This proved very frustrating, since the possibilities were all but unlimited. Still, after several hours he managed to find a list of a dozen kids between the ages of ten to fifteen who seemed to really stand out.

Lyle's mom took a two-pronged approach. First she took over tracing the movements of the Norris family, and in particular Zachery. At the same time she noticed all the locations emanating power seemed to be on ancient ruins, so she started looking at other, less known, places to see if there was any activity around those. It didn't take long to find her hunch had been correct as reports around some of the locations she pinpointed indicated very strange activity.

Becky, on the other hand, took in all found reports of strange attacks and started cross-referencing them with legends and lore. The idea was to start building a database of whatever started to appear. At the same time, she would put in what seemed to harm each creature and what special abilities had been reported with each. Stan felt this, above all else, would be humanity's best defense, since it would give those facing each creature an idea as to what each could do, what its weaknesses were, and where and how to attack it.

The problem was the sheer number of reports COSAM managed to find was somewhat overwhelming. Making matters worse, the reports were oftentimes fractured, since communications across the globe were getting worse by the hour. Because of this, there were gaps in the report, and in more than a few cases all she had to go on were intercepted police broadcasts of first responders shouting, "What the hell is that!" or very similar statements. Oftentime further, possibly valuable, information was drowned out by gunshots. This forced Becky to get help from the Antarctic researches to try to filter out the shots so she could hear more. The other problem was, as the night wore on, the reports got more fractured while they also became more numerous.

As the first vestiges of daylight appeared in the sky over London, most of those in the city found communication systems totally down with no radio or news broadcasts. Even worse, those in the outlying areas were starting to see flicking in their lights as the power grids started to fail. At the same time, the military scientists in the government of United Britain were just starting to come to terms with the fact one of their military helicopters had been taken out by mythical creatures and they had no good answers for those higher up.

While top government researchers didn't have any answers, COSAM did seem to have a few, at least as far as restoration of communications. Because of this, COSAM was given full access to power grids and military communications along with a massive down payment. In simple terms, as long as military units could talk, COSAM would get paid and paid well. Because of this rare bit of quick reaction by a huge government, the UB military never totally lost command and control and was able to defend areas of Liverpool, Glasgow, and Belfast from what scientists started coding as MAs, short for Mythical Attacks. Much like the London attacks, the creatures appeared, seemingly out of thin air, and went after humans almost instantly. At least as the first rays of sunlight started to cause the early morning sky to brighten, the MAs seemed to come to a sudden end. The damage and carnage they left behind, however, could be seen by all.

Sara Cartwright glanced over from her computer link as her son jerked hard in bed and cringed slightly. "Lyle?"

The youngster shook his head and wiped his eyes. A second later a rather loud and long burp emerged from him. "The pool thing… It just happened… I am full again."

Sara tapped a key on the computer marking the time and turned her full attention to her boy. "How are you feeling?"

Lyle let out another burp and stretched. "Good… Um, I think I am like stronger or something too… the pool thing we were telling you about last night seems to be bigger today or…"

Before he could finish talking, Ryan all but burst into the room through the adjoining room door wearing nothing but boxers, "Lyle, did your pool just refill?"

Lyle sat up and nodded. "I guess we really are kind a linked, kind of like what happened to the others last night… We fill back up at the same time in the morning as the others do at night."

Ryan nodded then looked at Lyle's mom. "Oh, um sorry…"

Lyle's mom smiled warmly, "No problem, young man. Actually it is nice to see someone Lyle's age eager to come see him!"

Lyle pulled himself out of bed as his head dropped, "I don't have many real friends…"

"Me neither." Ryan admitted. "I had a few on the swim team, but they were never real friends, only buddies for swimming. At the orphanage, I was always the odd one out for some reason."

"Same for me on the motocross circuit." Lyle sighed. "I think most are jealous since I am younger and already have a big sponsor. But, even in school, I am picked as a leader for projects and stuff all the time. None of it matters, cause I really don't have real friends."

Sara listened to the two boys talk about their lack of friendships for a couple more minutes while she sent word back to Cynthia's central computer. Suddenly her computer beeped and Stan's face appeared in the upper corner. "Good work, Mrs. Cartwright! The computer confirms your suspicions. If we can verify Ryan recharged at the same time as your son, then we can pretty much link their powers to time of moonrise and moonset."

"It did, Uncle Stan." Ryan spoke up as he moved to be able to be seen by the computer camera. "We both refilled at the same time."

Uncle Stan nodded, "This is the first thing we can point to as far as something we can track with you all. If this holds over the next few days, then we will be able to tell you to within moments when your internal energies replenish. In turn, it will give you all the benefit of being able to expend what you have left for practicing just before you recharge."

"Wow, neat idea!" Ryan jumped up and down with a great deal of eagerness. "We can hold on to what we have in case we need it, then practice just before it all comes back and we lose what we had inside us already!"

"Exactly." A smirk appeared on Stan's face as he continued to talk to Ryan, "Unfortunately, it also means you two will have to get up early every day."

Lyle shrugged, "I pretty much wake up with the pool refills anyway, sir. It kind of hurts so it always wakes me, then I can't get back to sleep for a while after I refill cause it is like getting an energy drink or something."

"Same here." Ryan nodded, "And I think the same goes for Alex, since he always seemed to have a hard time going to bed when he stayed with us and Mom made us turn out the lights. He always wanted to talk for like a couple of hours. Normally he talked me to sleep."

Stan's eyebrows shot up, "Maybe we should add sleep problems to our search. Mrs. Cartwright, tell your husband to add in sleeping difficulties to his cross-reference research! Alex's mom always used to complain about how much of a night owl Alex was and how hard it was to put him down for the night. If we can combine sleep problems with kids who have shown incredible gifts of some sort, then we may be able to narrow the search."

"And how, exactly, do we get medical records of the kids you want my husband to look at?"

"We hack them." Stan stated without any hint of it bothering him. "COSAM communications are pretty much all that is running in most areas so we have full access to just about everything going out. As other countries realize UB and Unified North have full communications, I am sure others will come crawling to us. It will give us next to unlimited access to health records since emergency services are already starting to switch over to COSAM equipment in UB and we are in discussions to do the same thing for Unified North."

Sara frowned, "I'm not sure I am comfortable…"

Lyle interrupted, "Mum, if we don't get to them something else might. What if some of the monsters, like the one that attacked us, go after them? They will not stand a chance!"

"Your boy is totally correct, Mrs. Cartwright. The security team we dispatched to Iona Smyth had a firefight with some bipedal lizard-like creatures not far from her house and two more showed up as we were trying to convince them to come with them. They were attacking other civilians, but were headed in the direction of the house when we intercepted. I will get a full video and audio feed dropped off by the security team when they bring her and her family to the hotel."

"So she is coming here?" Lyle gulped.

"Yes, and she is one of you just like you thought. She yanked the front door off her house and threw it at two of the lizard things who tried to come after her and our team once she came to the door. At least with her display and the beasts coming after them, it didn't take much to convince the dad she should come to the hotel for safety. It also eliminates the idea of it only being male children we need to search for."

"So you think those things were after her?" Mrs. Cartwright demanded to know.

"So it appears. We may be the best chance these kids have of staying alive. As you know, we are still working at consolidating reports, but we have over a hundred probable creature attacks in this country alone since the phenomenon started, and they are increasing. If what Alex was told last night by the jewelry is correct, it will only get worse. On the plus side, we have yet to document any major incursion during daylight hours, which in turn may mean these openings pretty much happen while the moon is up."

Ryan frowned, "Um, Evan saw some creatures during the day…"

"Yes, but they didn't stay after they were killed or whatever happened to them." Stan countered, "And it was during the storm, which as much as I hate to say this, was almost certainly caused by this eruption of um…power."

"You just won't say the word magic, will you?" Ryan grinned.

"Not yet." Stan grunted. "As long as we can find scientific links, then it really isn't magic. An unknown power, yes, but this is not the Dark Ages. Just because we can't explain it, does not mean it cannot be explained."

"Sure seems like magic to me." Lyle grinned, "So what are we doing today, anyway?"

Ryan let out a long breath. "I think we need to work to help each other get better at what we can do and then try to find others like us… Uncle Stan, did any of the other attacks look like they were going after kids? If so, maybe we can use these attacks to find more of us too."

Lyle's mom's eyes went wide. "Stan, can you get me a list of who was targeted and if any kids were in the area of known attacks?"

"I'll have the Antarctic guys get on it. You stay focused on categorizing these creatures. Let your husband work on this new angle. I need each of you all to stay focused on your projects or we will start duplicating efforts."

Stan let out a long tired sounding breath. "Still, it was some good thinking Ryan, but again, don't go using too much of this inner pool thing. If you are attacked, you may need it. Maybe you should see what you can do without using it."

"How?" Lyle wondered while staring out the window toward some billowing smoke in the distance. He fought the desire to put some of his 'pool' into his eyesight so he could see more.

"So far we have all been kind of drawn together." Ryan thought aloud, "Maybe we should start by seeing if we can figure out what caused it to happen."

Lyle's head cocked to the side as he pondered a new idea. "What if we can force ourselves to feel others like us?"

Stan quickly concurred. "Lyle, Ryan, you both may be on to something. I want you and the others to try something for me."

"What, Uncle Stan?" Ryan asked without hesitation.

Stan paused to collect his thoughts. "Once you have all eaten, the five of you should spread out in the hotel and play hide and seek. Only I don't want you to actually look for one another with your eyes, I want you to try to find each other with this new power you all seem to have."

Stan rubbed his chin, realizing he needed to shave. He pushed the weird thought out of his brain as he focused in on the kids again. "When I was on Alex's mom's Special Forces team, I saw her do something very similar to what I am asking you to try to do. She was amazing at locating things none of the rest of us could see, smell, hear, taste or touch. She also reacted to danger better than any man or woman I have ever worked with. I have seen the same kind of reactions in Alex and to a lesser extent even the two of you in the video we got from the hotel. If this is really some kind of energy available to a select few, the power running in your veins could all be linked somehow. If it is, then you and your friends need to get used to using it and get to a point where you are not only comfortable with it, but trust it as well."

Lyle nodded slowly, "And what better way than to test it on trying to find each other!"

"Exactly," Stan stated firmly. "Until we have a better handle on things I don't want any of you to leave the hotel anyway, so you may as well see what you can and cannot do. At the same time, make sure to tell the others to conserve your energy pools in case something else comes after you all. If something does, deal with it and don't worry about damages. Let COSAM handle the bills, especially since we should have the hotel as a corporate asset before close of business today. Just keep each other safe.

"In the meantime I am going to send a couple of those Australian guys to join your security team since they already know and like you, Ryan. They also firmly believe you have a special power or gift. They might be able help you to find new ways to harness this ability and it may even be the key to find others like you. In the meantime, we will continue to search for possible candidates to check out."

Sara pushed back from the computer. "I need a break…"

"Take some downtime, and if you can, get some sleep. The outbreaks of creatures are pretty much happening in Unified North and South America now, and their communications are not going to be able to get us good data until they give us more control, so we can fix the interference problems. Unified South doesn't seem interested yet, and Unified North only wants us to get their military channels up. My bet is attitudes will change quickly as these things start appearing over there too, but right now we can't do much. This is a good time rest, since nightfall over UB will almost certainly bring a new round of problems for us and data for you."

While Ryan and Lyle got dressed, a COSAM transport helicopter, flanked by a pair of attack copters landed on the upper level of the hotel's parking garage. Six heavily armed men jumped out and formed a protective ring around a girl and her dad. The moment the pair of escorted civilians was safely inside the adjoining structure, five of the six-man team hustled back to the large transport, which in turn took off back in the direction of the coast. Even as this happened, the last man slammed the door and held his weapon at the ready, just in case something else tried to come through. The look in his eyes told everyone he was more than a bit concerned.

Bryan met the man and girl. Even as he nodded at the armed security man, he pointed to a couple of hotel employees to take the bags from the disheveled pair. "Sorry for all this. Is there anything I can get you?"

The man protectively put an arm around his daughter. "An explanation would be great! One minute we were getting ready to go to bed, the next a team of mercenaries are pounding on the door while a firefight erupted in my vegetable garden!"

Bryan held up his hand to try to calm the man, but it failed badly, "Don't go trying to shut me up with some kind of hand gesture! My girl ripped the door off the front of my house! I saw it with my own eyes… and there were upright walking iguanas with big knives in their hands coming at us! I want to know what is going on!"

The girl pulled her hair back to get it out of her face showing she was considerably calmer than her father, "They were a bit bigger than Herman, Dad, like by a full meter."

Bryan frowned. "Herman?"

"My pet iguana." The girl grumbled with both some concern and anger. "They wouldn't let me take him!"

"I'll send someone to get him and bring him here." Bryan promised. "Is there anything else you want from your home?"

The dad looked down at his daughter with a look of total disbelief. "You seriously are worried about your damned lizard after what we just saw?"

The girl's dark blue eyes narrowed, "Herman is not just some lizard!"

The armed man turned, "May I recommend we pull back from the outer door, sir. The entrance to the garage is open and there is no telling what may be out there. We are just now getting permission to get more armed people here so we can keep the entire property secure."

Alex stepped up beside his dad with Evan and Mystic next to him. "Nothing is coming through the door while we are here." He then turned to look at the girl, "Wow, Lyle was right, I can feel you are one of us!"

The girl looked over and felt a shiver roll down her back. "You two… you are like Lyle and me? Is that what I am feeling? Is that why you sent those people to get us?"

"Yes. Lyle was worried about you, so we sent out a protection team. Sounds like it is a good thing we did." Alex nodded as he stuck out his hand, "I'm Alex and this is Evan."

The girl took the outstretched hand and smiled warmly after only the briefest of hesitation, "I'm Iona. So is Lyle really here too?"

"Yeah." Evan spoke up. "Like Alex said, it was his idea to see if we could get you here."

Iona's father glanced around at the small group with total confusion, "What in the hell are you all talking about? Doesn't anyone else care about the fact there are machete armed lizards running around just outside of Maidstone?"

"Actually they were more like roman short swords called a Gladius, only better made. The rest had fighting axes, much like the Viking style battle axe, not machetes," the security guard snorted as he dug into his pack and pulled one of each type of blade for Bryan and the two boys to see. "Besides, they ain't running around anymore; at least none we could find. We took down eight and your girl sent the last two into and half through a car when she batted them with your front door…" The guy then glanced at Bryan, "Um sir, we kind of left the house unsecured…"

Bryan let out a breath of air, pretty much ignoring the girl's father since the guy was clearly trying to process everything and failing badly, "Phone your people and see if they can get back there, nail the door back up, and get the girl's pet and any food she may have for it."

Iona's father once again looked around. "Phones don't work…"

"COSAM's do." Bryan stated matter of factly, "So do our radios and computers. And right now you are under COSAM's protection, so if there is anything else you want out of your house for the next few days, now is the time to speak up. While it isn't too big of a deal, I have a feeling it is not cheap to have three of my choppers flying around."

Alex snickered at how flustered and totally bewildered the man looked before he turned his attention back to Iona. "Where's your mom?"

"Out on sea patrol." Iona sighed. "She works for the Channel Guard keeping French pirate boats well away from our soil."

Alex nodded then looked back at the weapons, "Um, any chance Ryan and I could each get one of those, Dad?"

Bryan looked over the blades and remembered the conversations from the other hotel the day before. "You are sure you can use them?"

"More than sure." Alex stated with total certainty.

Bryan saw the security man eyeing Alex and shrugged. "Do you know how to fight with them?"

"Not professionally, but we all have some blade work as part of our training. I know enough to see if the boy knows what he is doing, if you want me to."

"Then have your men bring back a couple more of those so we can see what my boys know and don't." Bryan commanded. He then turned back to Iona's father, "I totally understand you being a bit overwhelmed at the moment, so let's get you settled in so you can calm down and sort out your thoughts."

Iona glanced over her shoulder at her dad with clear disappointment in her eyes as she followed Alex and Evan back toward the elevator. "Um, should we be taking the stairs? The power at our house was acting funny before your guys showed up."

"We have stable power here." Evan answered, "COSAM has been working all night to make sure this place has everything and it all stays running."

Iona took a deep breath as Alex punched the button for an elevator going up. "Your energy levels are really strong… I think I can almost see the stuff surrounding you."

Alex shrugged, "My brother and I seem to have big pools to draw from, but from what I can tell you are right on par with Lyle, maybe even stronger."

The group exited the elevator and the hotel employees showed the new arrivals to their room. While Iona's dad went in and looked around with an almost blank expression on his face, Iona stopped in front of a door two down from the room they were shown. "Lyle's in there, isn't he?"

At almost the same time, Lyle glanced over at Ryan and dropped the game control unit. "She's here."

Bryan paused and watched as the door to the room suddenly opened. Ryan quickly stepped out into the hall and smiled. He glanced back into the room, "Yeah, she's here."

Iona moved up to the door and broke into a big smile as she saw Lyle, "Hey, I hear I have you to thank for the rescue!"

Lyle blushed slightly as he moved up. "All I did was recommend they try to find you. Mr. Caldwell and his company did the rest."

Iona's smile didn't fade in the slightest she moved forward and hugged Lyle, "Thank you! I owe you. The next time we are on the course you take first and I'll take second!"

Lyle turned even redder as he accepted the hug, "No way. We compete till the flag drops. I can't let you throw a race!"

Iona kissed Lyle on the cheek with a glimmer in her eyes. "Mum says I have to be thirteen before I can date, but maybe we could do things together until then!"

Lyle blushed even deeper, but quickly nodded, "Anytime!"

Craig's mom stepped out into the hall upon hearing the commotion, "So you two really do team up to help each other?"

"Every time we race the same course, which is all the time now, since we both have decent sponsors." Iona confirmed as she gave Lyle a quick kiss on the lips and backed away some. "Somehow I always know where he is and over the past few months I could tell he knew where I was. There is only one race where we both didn't place and that moron, Blake, who knocked Lyle out of the Supercard Express didn't finish the race either. I made sure of it. I still can't believe they didn't sanction him!"

Lyle's dad also came out of another room. "I saw him wreck, and can't say I felt bad about it. The only reason they didn't penalize him was because Lyle was unhurt and Blake's broken arm and leg put him out of the circuit for at least two to three months and eliminated him from contendership. I also made sure to put in a protest, so potential sponsors would see it. But there was no way you could have caused his wreck. No one was around him…"

Iona closed her eyes, whispered something, and a moment later the door behind Lyle's dad slammed shut hard.

Everyone except the other kids jumped with the sudden closing of the door. The kids all turned to look at Iona. Ryan was the first to speak, "I felt you do it!"

"Yeah," the red-headed girl smiled without any hint of remorse in her voice for what she had done to the other boy. "I didn't have to touch him. I stuck his throttle as he came over the big hill so he couldn't slow down. I thought Lyle had been badly hurt after Blake kicked his back wheel on the short jump."

She then grinned back at Lyle, "I'm glad you weren't."

"Thanks." Lyle smiled back, "Me too!"

Iona glanced over and whistled softly as Craig also came out into the hall. "Wow, how many of us are there?"

"Not sure, but we are looking for as many as we can find." Lyle's dad announced while making sure the 'boy-girl talk' was pushed way back up on the to-do list. There was no question in his mind his son and Iona were extremely interested in each other.

Bryan nodded, "We also brought you here for your protection. I wish I could talk to your father, but…"

Iona rolled her eyes in some disgust, "Stepdad, and he isn't going to be of much help. He freaks out when he sees any kind of blood. And if you think that is bad, you should hear him scream when he sees a snake! He won't even feed Herman when I am gone, so I have to use my allowance and winnings to pay for someone to take care of him while I am racing."

"Herman?" Lyle asked.

"Her pet iguana." Bryan stated blandly, clearly not liking the way the girl had so little respect for her father.

"You have an iguana?" Craig shouted, "Can I come over to see it?"

"We are bringing it here." Bryan managed a smile to see excitement in the boy's eyes.

Lyle's father frowned, "Will the hotel allow it?"

"I see no reason why the first hotel owned by COSAM can't be totally pet friendly." Bryan snorted.

"You bought the place?" Iona gasped.

"Paperwork is still being finalized and the UB government has to approve, but since they really want their emergency communications to work, I think they will OK it."

"Are you blackmailing them?" Craig's mom demanded to know.

"Nope, I just had one of my lawyers hint it could take a bit longer to get everything running smoothly if we couldn't get everything finalized quickly. She made it a point to slip in such possibilities, since part of my time will have to be spent dealing with paperwork instead of their police, fire, and rescue frequency problems. I never said we wouldn't do it."

Bryan paused and glanced over at Ryan, "Blame him, it was his idea."

Ryan put on a tight grin and turned his full attention to Iona, "We were about to test to see if we can find each other using our powers. Do you want to join in?"

Iona glanced back to the room her dad went into and quickly nodded, "Sure, he is going to be a mess for hours after seeing what came after us. As a matter of fact, I may need one of you to keep Herman for a few days."

"I will help take care of him!" Craig stated with total sincerity. "I have wanted a pet like an iguana for a couple of years, but Mum can't afford one."

"I'm sure you'll love him!" Iona grinned then turned back to Lyle. "What are the rules of the game?"

Lyle spoke up, "We can't leave the building and two of us search while the others hide. Once everyone is found we switch."

Alex tossed her a COSAM palm phone, "It has your old number and the rest of ours are programmed in, so we know when everyone has been found. Since you and Lyle seem to have such good control, why don't you go first? Give us fifteen minutes, then come looking."

Iona nodded and slid the phone into her front pocket. She then glanced into the room Lyle came out of and spotted food, "How about we eat and talk while they go hide."

While the kids scattered to find good places to hide and Lyle and Iona went into the other room and closed the door, Bryan glanced over at Lyle's dad, "So, Vince, when was your first kiss? I think I was almost fifteen, and it was one, not two."

Vince rolled his eyes and rubbed his forehead as he groaned softly. "Thirteen, at my second school dance, but fourteen before I got one on the lips." Vince responded as he glanced back at the closed door and shuddered. "I am really going to have to expedite the dreaded chat!"

"I could give you my two for it too, since I have no idea what I am going to say and I know Alex has a girlfriend." Bryan only half teased.

"Maybe we could do it together, since I am right there with not knowing what to say." The man admitted. "In the meantime, I think I need to grab some shut eye. I am wiped."

"As soon as I am sure the girl's dad is OK, I'll be right there with you." Bryan admitted. "As long as the kids stay in the hotel, they will be fine. I also have more armed security coming in, just to make sure."

Iona sat at the small table and poured herself a large bowl of cereal and grabbed a couple of oranges from the fruit bowl, "So how long have you known you could do stuff?"

"Like two years, but no real control until like a year ago."

"Same here." She took a couple of bites as she glanced around the room, "But it wasn't until I raced you the first couple of times before I started to really be able control what I could do. Actually, I think I finally got decent control last fall."

Lyle thought it over for a few seconds, "After the race at Hertfordshire, right?"

"Yeah!" Iona looked over in surprise. "The very next race is when I started noticing you and within a couple more, I was sure you were like me."

Lyle looked back out the window noting the smoke could still be seen in the distance. Once again he fought the desire to send some of his pool into his vision. To prevent himself from just doing it, he turned to look at Iona, "Something happened there, it was during the lightning storm when we had to get under shelter…"

"The lightning hit…" Iona whispered, "It hit those rocks with the weird circles on them… It was almost like I could hear them scream or something."

Lyle nodded, "It was more like an angry moan, like something was asleep and didn't want to get woken up…"

"You heard it too?" She gasped in surprise. "How wild!"

Lyle took a deep breath, "Yeah, and it haunted me for days. Still, I didn't have reliable control until then, within days after the race, I did. We also both got a whole lot better and have been at or near the top of the leader board for points ever since."

"Do you think something is there?" Iona asked thoughtfully.

"Maybe… After we do this hide and seek game, we should talk to Mr. Caldwell. It may be linked to what we are after."

Iona finished eating. As she moved to the door she grinned. "What floors do you want?"

"I'll take odd, you take even?"

"Sounds fair to me." She grinned, "If we continue to do this, you are going to have to come find me one of these times."

Lyle blushed badly and laughed, "I think that is what my dad is worried about!"

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