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    Marissa was texting her brother as Cade spoke to his mother. Finally, she rolled her eyes and turned to Ms. Allister. “Seriously? Ms. Allister, it’s an emergency. The reasons are largely inconsequential, it’s for your safety and Haruka’s. We’re not sticking around either if it’s any consolation, now please, go.” “Christ,” Marissa fumed as the two drove away. “She’s that sort of woman who keeps asking ‘why’ in the middle of a crisis then gets eaten by the giant dinosaur with a look of surprise on her face while it happens.” “She’s just worried,” Cade offered as he tried to look calm amidst the tremors of emotions swirling like a maelstrom within him. They two made their way across the park as swiftly as they could, Marissa keeping a surprisingly spry pace considering her four-inch wedged footwear, until they reached her and Devin’s parents. They were in the middle of a conversation with a few families that they didn’t know, or care to know, and were almost thankful when Marissa approached and without explanation grabbed their arms and lead them away like children who’d just been caught doing something bad. “Marissa!” Misti attempted to correct her daughter’s actions but found Marissa’s grip to be akin to iron and she seemed to be effortlessly dragging them along as they tried to keep pace. Out of view of the rest of the park, she released them. The trees concealed and obscured them as a row overgrowth completed the natural curtain that she hoped would allow her to speak with her parents openly. “Ow,” Carl rubbed his arm. “Christ, Punk’in. The hell is going on?” Misti glared as Cade simply followed silently, his face still a pool of emotions that shifted from anger to worry then to concern to rage. She looked to Marissa then nervously to Carl. “Sweetheart, what is going on?” She managed a chuckle of concern as she awaited an answer. “Mom,” she looked to her mother then to her father. “Dad. You need to leave. Now. There’s been a murder and there is a chance that the killer might come after you to get to me and Devin.” Carl laughed. “Sweetie, you and your brother have pulled a few in the past, but going as far as a mur-“ “Dad!” Marissa raised her voice to cut him off. “For fucks sake! Listen for once!” Misti raised her eyebrows and crossed her arms defensively. Her posture took on the disapproving mother kind as she interjected. “Marissa Beatrice, I will not have you using that tone. Cade, dear, you can go. This is a family matter now, thank you.” “Nah.” Cade shrugged slightly. “Good where I am. She’s as much my family as my blood. We’re Fellowship.” “The fuck is Fellowship?” Carl fumed, now thoroughly pissed that his daughter was swearing at him. “Some cult? You run out and join a cult or something?” Marissa sighed and rolled her eyes. She held up her phone, the FaceTime on it showing Devin looking at his phone’s camera with a raised, yet confused eyebrow. “Are you hearing this Deej? I told you. Dense as fucking uranium. Do the thing.” “Stop with the langu-“ as Devin appeared, instantly on the scene in a flash of purple light, Misti’s words seemed caught in her throat. “S’up, bruddah.” He fist-bumped Cade who only offered him a silent nod and a fist. “So, now that we have your attention.” Marissa took a deep breath to center herself and pressed on, offering her brother a ‘thank you’ smile as she stepped forward. “Mom, Dad? Devin and I have super powers. The killer is not a who, it’s a what. Now, I know this is a lot to take in, but we’re the only ones who can stop it.” “Wh-what is it?” Carl managed to get out after giving his son a creepy once over, as if looking for the smoke and mirrors that made his son instantly appear. “It’s a god,” she replied. “A being of darkness, ancient and evil. We don’t expect you to believe to believe us-“ “Reassuring, because we don’t.” her mother said flatly. “How did you do that Devin, and these super abilities, what are yours?” Her eyes fell to Marissa. “I think, therefore I go.” Devin smirked. “We don’t have time to explain string theory to you two. Marissa is not lying. Not-Cody is on a warpath and we’re the only ones who can stop him. He’s not vulnerable to conventional weaponry.” “Okay, I’ll bite.” Carl said lazily. “What is he vulnerable to?” “Us.” Cade said stoically. “We’re hardly conventional.” Devin added. “And let me guess, you have powers to?” Mist threw a disbelieving gesture his way. “What are they?” “I look intimidating while using simple sentences to assert my dominance.” Cade offered as he crossed his arms. His tone told her she was barking up the wrong tree with him. “Mine’s putting up with your shit for the last sixteen years,” Marissa interrupted. “Look we don’t have time for this, you need to go home, lock the doors, stay safe and protect each other. Please.” “But… why? What is it and what does it want-“ “Mom! We’re going to fight this thing. We’re the only ones.” Devin’s voice rose above his mother’s. Marissa closed her eyes and looked away as the sound of her brother angry reminded her of harder times when he was the one always being bullied. Bullied because he was protecting his sister. “It’s done. No compromises, no talking us out of it. We’re telling you this because we love you. We love both. We might not come back.” “And we don’t want you living the rest of your days wondering where your children disappeared to one day.” Marissa’s voice was soft and caring as she looked at her parents. “You may not be perfect as parents go, but we both knew you deserved better than that. We didn’t plan on you finding out this way, but… well, Deej is right. This thing killed Charlie. We must do this, and we might not come back. We just wanted you to know that we love you. Both of you.” Devin shrugged; his lips not quite smirking. “She nailed it. I mean, this story is long and complicated, and to tell it to you, we need to survive tonight. I teleport. Marissa is like super hawt and mesmerizing. That’s our power. You wanna know more? We need to take down the Not-Cody first. For Charlie.” “I cannot believe what I’m hearing,” Misti chuckled in disbelief and she tossed up her hands and paced away from the children. “A-are you two high?” The twins both exhaled and simultaneously rubbed the bridge of their nose in frustration in a moment Cade had only seen a few times where the twins moved, thought, and acted the same. “That is without a doubt the single most loaded pile of bullshit I’ve heard in a long damn time,” Carl laughed. “Thank you.” Misti gestured to him in thanks for supporting her point of view. The twins’ faces sunk as neither of their parents seemed to believe a word of any of this. “So, you better come home,” he continued as he stepped forward and held both his children, each in one arm, and hugged them tight. “And tell me all of it.” “You believe us?” Devin asked, holding his father, the man he never got along with, like an actual son was supposed to. “No,” their father stated honestly. “I believe you just did something amazing; I’m processing that. But I also know that Cody kid is still missing, you said Charlie was murdered by him and I think you idiot kids are about to go and exercise of some backwoods justice.” The twins backed away and looked at their father then to each other. “You’re not going to stop us.” “We may not have been the best parents,” Carl motioned to himself and Misti. “Suppose we owe you an apology for that, but we raised you to look out for each other, and taught you that when the world pushes… you spit in its face and push right back. I know you’ll do the right thing.” “How do you know that?” Devin asked. A hint of defiance in his tone as he studied his con man of a father. “Because we wouldn’t.” He offered his son a slight grin that seemed almost fatherly. “Be safe and look out for each other.” “Dad, I-,“ Marissa wiped tears from her cheeks while searching for the right words. “Carl, you cannot seriously be buying into this. That Alister boy is obviously feeding them some cockamamie stories and luring them into some weird hazing.” Misti raged, glaring at Cade who only looked back at her with such a calm and composed expression that it could have brought a tear to Jase’s dried, unused tear ducts. The children turned to leave and walked away while Misti was in mid-rant. “Carl!” Their father turned and held his wife, possibly for the first time in months. “Mist. Mist. Shhh.” “I’m a horrible mom,” he could hear the tears welling up inside her as her children walked away. “They… they hate us…” “No, no, they don’t. They were talking and as usual we weren’t listening.” He met his lovely wife’s gaze and smiled that charming, hereditary smile. “Something strange is going on, we both know it, we both knew it. Our children. Ours, are at the middle of something big and they’re going to do great things. We’ve both made mistakes, Mist. Me especially… but look at them. Strong, independent, smart, and doing what is right. Don’t you see? By being us, we’ve taught them how not to be us, and… well, shit… I’m proud of them for that.” “We are a fucking mess, aren’t we?” Misti chuckled through tears. He traced a strand of hair from her face and tucked it behind her ears as he dabbed away her running makeup. “I knew what I was getting into. No regrets.” And there in the midst of all the chaos Misti and Carl met again for the first time…
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