Hidden Truths, Hidden Hearts

The first in the Hidden Truths trilogy.
Maria always knew she was different. From when she was a child she could do things she couldn't explain and had a power she couldn't understand. Then she meets Zac who changes her life forever. Together they embark on a journey that presents dangers, reveals long forgotten truths and brings them together in ways they could never imagine.

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15. Ambush

Although she had tried to fix things with Jennifer, they still avoided each other for the rest of the day. Maria just wanted to go home. Better still, to the livery yard to see Rosie. Just spending time with her even if she wasn't riding always made her feel better no matter how down she was feeling.

As she was leaving English to get the bus home Jennifer caught up with her.

"Hey, I know we've gone through a rough patch lately but that shouldn't mean we sit apart on the bus." she gave a small smile, trying to seem light hearted.

"Ok," Maria shrugged but couldn't help grinning.

The sky was still dark as they left school. Only Maria and Jennifer were getting the bus.

As they rounded the corner to the bus stop something slammed into Maria's back, winding her and knocking her off balance. As she staggered to her feet something grabbed her and pulled her down.

"Jennifer!" she screamed.

"She won't help you. She can't." mocked a sly voice in her ear.

She felt a hand on the back of her neck violently turning her head. Jennifer was being pinned to the ground with her arms pinned behind her back. Ryan Jeffries was sitting on top of her, holding her down. Ryan was an accomplice of Curtis. If Curtis was the brains he was the henchman.

"What should I do with her, Curtis?" Ryan asked sounding far too eager.

"Follow me. You too, Blake." ordered Curtis holding Maria stiffly.

Blake just tagged along with Curtis and Ryan. He wasn't a true member as such. He had only really joined to avoid the continuous fear that he would be Curtis' next target.

He shoved her forward, "Move!"

Trying to stop her heart from exploding out of her chest she dragged herself forward. Jennifer was pushed along behind them with Blake bringing up the rear.

There was an old abandoned building nearby. It was to be demolished soon. It was already falling apart. There was a sign hanging over the door saying:

DANGER!!!

Unstable Building

Do not Enter!

Curtis kicked open the door and shoved Maria inside. The interior was dark and damp. The only light came from the open door. The air smelt of decay and rusting metal. Curtis released Maria but blocked the only escape. Jennifer looked at Maria with frightened eyes.

"I'm offering you one more chance to be my girlfriend, Maria," Curtis' eyes blazed with desire, Maria felt her blood chill to ice in her veins.

The fire was igniting slowly. She waited for him to continue.

"You have a choice," he sneered clearly enjoying himself, "take up this chance or she gets it."

She could feel the heat rising. She couldn't let it take control.

"That's not much of a choice." Maria's voice was low and threatening yet strangely calm.

Curtis chuckled, "It works for me. Don't try to be a hero. You have to choose."

Jennifer looked to Maria clearly terrified. Her face was white and she was trembling.

"I will never date you." she hissed like an angry cobra.

Curtis' sinister smile unnerved her. As though he had been expecting this.

"Wrong answer." something else flashed in his eyes. Maria began to back away as he advanced on her, "You know, Maria, I always get what I want."

Jennifer screamed as he grabbed Maria and pulled her close to him. His eyes burned with desire and rage. She couldn't pull away. His grip was like iron.

The fire was getting stronger...

Maria struggled but to no avail.

"Do not fight it." Curtis slimy voice whispered in her ear.

She felt sick. She wanted to pull away. Her heart was knocking against her ribs and her muscles were tense.

"Leave her alone!" cried Jennifer.

Flames blazed...

There was a sudden smell of smoke and the room filled with a slight orange glow. Maria could feel the heat against her face. Curtis pulled her even closer. His lips only millimetres from hers.

The fire caught his leg and he cried out in pain, flinging Maria away who lay sprawled on the floor surrounded by the flames.

"LET'S GET OUT OF HERE!" yelled Blake making for the door.

Maria staggered to her feet and watched the flames blaze. Ryan released Jennifer and bolted after Blake.

Maria stared at the flames, they parted before her. It was her. She had summoned them. She could control them. She saw Jennifer staring at her horrified and shocked.

"Maria..." her voice trailed off as her voice choked.

"I'm so sorry." Maria felt tears prick her eyes.

Jennifer looked around wildly for the exit. She stared back at Maria.

"Just go!" Maria yelled.

Jennifer ran. She didn't look back. Maria saw her tears. She had left her friend to die. There was only Curtis and her left.

There was a loud crack as a massive piece of burning wood fell from the ceiling.

Time to go.

Curtis lunged at her again but she dodged him. She felt him grab her ankle. She cried out as she fell, hitting her head against the concrete floor, her right hand singed by the flames.

"I'm not going alone." hissed Curtis.

Maria kicked at him hard as she could. She had lost control and the flames were closing in.

"Let me go!" she yelled.

She managed to get a kick at his face. He let go as he cried out in pain, clutching his broken, bleeding nose. She clambered to her feet and ran. The flames leapt at her hungrily. She couldn't stop them anymore. She ignored the pain as they licked her skin and devoured her clothes.

She heard a thump behind her. Curtis had tripped and fallen. He hadn't cried out. She didn't look back.

"See you in Hell, Maria."

She tried to block out those hated words. The door was still open. The whole building was collapsing around her. One final leap...

Cold air hit her face. She was out. The building groaned and collapsed.

Curtis was still inside.

Jennifer had stayed behind hoping her friend would get out in time. Ryan and Blake had scarpered.

They watched the building burn. No one else came out.

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