This is the 4th installment of my series… or rather part of it. Whether or not it will be published, remains to be seen… Let me know what you think. I could use some encouragement to finish… I have another potential sequel also in the works.
I‘ve never been able to get passed what happened. It still seems like something out of a nightmare, but it wasn’t. It happened, I did it. I know I did. I helped him hurt her, and in doing so, I’ve damned myself… More than anything… I want to be forgiven, or at least find a way to redeem myself…
“Tom, snap out of it!” A voice yelled from behind. “What are you doing man?”
Tom turned around to see his friend Jayme standing behind him, “What’s up?”
Jayme brushed her thick brown hair back behind her ear, “I just asked if you were going to lunch. You didn’t answer and had a look on your face like you were a million miles away.”
Tom nodded, “I’m sorry, I was just thinking to myself.”
“About what happened?” Jayme asked in an accusing tone.
“Yeah.” Tom replied. “I still can’t get the look on her face or the anger in his eyes out of my head.”
“You let Michael do a number on that poor elf, and Toby made sure that you paid for it.” Jayme replied. “Look, it’s like I told you before, it happened, you can’t go back in time and change that, all you can do now is learn from it and try to live better. I’d also try to see if you can earn her forgiveness.”
Tom sighed as he spoke, “I know… you’ve said it before. I just don’t know what I can do.”
Jayme shrugged, “You never know.”
Jayme stood near Tom for a few minutes while he compiled his thoughts. After a few moments of boredom, she spoke up, “Are you doing lunch?”
Tom shook his head, “Nah, not today. I think I’ll just head back to my room.”
“Suit yourself.” Jayme replied. “I’m starving, so I’m heading that way. See you later!”
Tom really wasn’t in the mood to eat and needed time to compile his thoughts, “All right, have a good time.”
Jayme nodded and walked away. It was a cool September day. Autumn had just barely begun taking over as classes were once again starting at Arcanus. The trees were still green, but it was a light green that would soon give way to brighter colors.
Tom had been dreading the fall. He didn’t want to see Toby, Lia’na, or Michael. To him, they were nothing more than reminders of an awful mistake he’d made. He knew that what he’d done was wrong, he was suffering on his own for it, and didn’t need to be reminded of what happened.
Tom made his past the main campus center when he heard a n angry voice, “You’ll pay for that sharpy!”
Oh no… Tom thought to himself, recognizing the voice. It was Michael, no mistake about it, and by the sound of things, he’d come across Lia’na. What’s worse, it sounded like Toby wasn’t anywhere nearby.
Tom picked up his pace and began running. He made his way around to the lounge area where he saw Lia’na and Michael. The scene was exactly what Tom had feared.
Michael stood in front of Lia’na as his two friends held her by the arms. Michael balled his fist and was about to strike when his world suddenly blurred. There was intense pressure on his side and chest as he fell to the side.
It took him less than a second to figure out what was going on. Michael had been tackled. Toby was on top of him with his fists clenched. The first blow impacted on Michael’s stomach while the second on his chin.
Tom continued running as the other two guys released Lia’na and tried to help, but the first one got a left hook to the stomach from Gishan. Tom knew that while they both knew how to defend themselves, but Michael’s dwarven friend was still free and closing in on Gishan.
Tom quickly moved in, tackled the third companion, and pinned him to the ground. The dwarf looked up with an angry look, “What the hell man?”
Tom smiled as he held the dwarf down, “Easy there, Griz, don’t do anything stupid.”
After a few seconds, Toby let up on Michael and backed away. The look on his face made Michael’s blood run cold. His face was red with black eyes. Michael struggled to his feet as he was joined by his friend who was released from Gishan’s grip. Michael sneered as he looked at Toby, “Very nice Toby, fucking jump me from behind! I still can’t believe you’re dating that… sharpy!”
Toby clenched his jaw and spoke in an inhuman voice, “Animal… you’ve lead a sheltered life with parents who hate for no reason other than to hate. You know nothing about the world outside of your bubble and you never will!”
Tom released Griz and backed away slowly when he heard Toby’s voice. What the…?
Michael scoffed, “I’m the animal? That sharpy and her people are the ones responsible for us being where we are today. They deserved the disease they got and they should stay on the reservations!”
Gishan shook his head, “That shit is ancient history from long before you or she was even born! She’s as responsible for the collapse of the Alliance as you or I would be.”
Michael wasn’t sure he wanted to say anymore. Toby looked like a ticking time bomb and that demonic voice he spoke with made things even worse, “Oh please Gishan, why should I listen to you? What are you going to do about anything? You want to try to take me on?”
Tom stood up and took a step forward. Michael had been his friend since he first attended Arcanus, but he’d known Gishan for many years before that and was not about to let him get beaten. He stepped out in front of his old friend, “If he doesn’t, I will.”
Lia’na saw Tom and nervously stepped closer to Toby. Michael looked at him in shock, “Tom, since when are you a sharpy lover?”
Tom looked at Lia’na for a second before turning back to Michael, “I’m not, but I’m also not so small that I would resort to assault or rape! Had I known that’s what you were planning, I never would have gone along with it. I’m not much better than you, but I am better. If you try to go after Toby or Gishan, you’ll have to deal with me.”
Gishan looked over at him, “Tom, what are you doing?”
“What I should have done months ago.” Tom replied without looking over.
Michael nodded and turned back to Lia’na, “Someday sharpy…”
Toby‘s hand began to glow black as he bolted forward and grabbed Michael by the throat. He spoke in the same dark voice, “Listen to me very carefully… if you ever… ever try to lay a finger on her… I will make sure you are never found!”
Tom backed away slowly as Michael choked under his grasp, but could not fight away. Toby’s concentration was broken when he heard Lia’na cry out, “Toby, stop!”
Toby released Michael, giving him an opening to get away. Michael ran off, followed closely by his remaining friend. He didn’t bother looking back and just continued running.
Toby was breathing heavily and his skin was still red. Lia’na felt the energy flowing from him. She put her arms around him and whispered gently, “Toby calm down… it’s over. I wasn’t hurt…. Shh…”
Finally the red disappeared from his face and his eyes returned to normal. Tears fell down his cheeks as Lia’na hid his face, “Lia’na… what happened?”
Lia’na shook her head, “We’ll talk later… for now, calm down. It’s over, I’m not hurt. Everything is okay.”
Toby took a few deep breaths as he calmed down. He knew he still had to deal with Tom. When he was ready, he turned to Tom and looked him in the eye.
Tom didn’t move. He stood his ground as the two stared at each other for a few moments. Am I next?
After what seemed like an eternity, Toby faintly smiled, “Thanks for your help.”
Tom nodded, “It was the least I could do.”
He then turned to Lia’na, “I don’t expect you to forgive me for what happened, but please know that I am sorry. Michael won’t bother you again, I promise.”
Lia’na took a deep breath, but couldn’t find it in her to even crack a smile, “I can’t forgive you for what happened… or what almost happened, but I can try to forget… at the very least, I’ll stop pretending you don’t exist.”
Tom smiled, “Good enough.”
Lia’na didn’t respond as she turned to Toby, “We should probably get you home.”
Gishan nodded, “All right… I’ll get you home. Let’s go.”
He quickly looked back at Tom before they parted ways, “Thanks for the backup man.”
“Any time.” He replied as Gishan turned away and guided Toby and Lia’na back to his car.
Tom made his way back to his room, completely shaken by what he’d seen. His head was filled with questions; what was that, why were Toby’s eyes glowing, what did it all mean?
Tom eventually shrugged, there was nothing he could do about it, so there was no point in worrying about it. Whatever happened with Toby, no doubt his friends were taking care of it.
Toby had been acting weird ever since he’d met Lia’na. The glowing eyes, the hands, the unexplainable powers, it all didn’t add up, but again, there was nothing that he could do about it. He would have liked to have gone and seen Toby at his new place, but he had a feeling that he would most likely not be welcomed there. There was nothing for Tom to do but ignore it and go about his day.