The Protectors

Amela Robince, a once average 18 year old girl living in Spring Lake, Virginia. She has gone her whole life believing she was anything but interesting, and at the bottom of the list when it came to special. Suddenly, her life takes a dramatic turn when she discovers a mysterious ball of light in the woods near her house. She came in contact with this strange attraction, and since then, her new immortal life was anything but average. Sustaining new powers, with a new job to help defend the world against intimidating monsters with 7 other strangers, Amela has the world placed on her shoulders. Battling her way through the supernatural and attempting to resist the inevitable charms of fellow Protector Harry Styles, follow us on this incredible journey of love, loss, and crusade.

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7. Chapter 6

Spring Lake High School swirled lazily into view as Amela and Drew appeared in the school parking lot, dead leaves and dirty trash moving with the slight breeze around their feet. The tall autumn woods stood to their left, swaying nonchalantly from side to side while the road, streaming with bustling cars and bicyclers, was to their right. “What day is it?” Amela asked Drew, curious if school was in session. “Sunday,” He replied. Amela had hoped to visit Chastity during her class, but since it was a Sunday, Chastity was most likely home. “We can’t walk to Chastity’s house from here; it’s too far.” She concluded.

                “Who?” Drew questioned as Amela began to pace, deciding how she would get to her house from their current location. “Drew,” Amela addressed, “Is it possible you could teleport me to my house? My mom should be there, I don’t think she’s working tonight.” She awaited his reply with hopeful eyes. 

                “Right, see here’s the thing,” He started, putting his hands forth in an explaining gesture. “I can only teleport to places I know. If we could, like, find your house on Google maps or something, it wouldn’t be a problem. Otherwise, it’s not possible.”

                “We need a computer then,” She resolved, putting her hands on her hips as she gazed at her surroundings. The parking lot of the school was lifeless and dull, as it always was on weekends; of course school wouldn't be in session. “There’s a café down the street with a few free computers.”

                “Ohh, a café you say?” Drew recalled as he rubbed his hands together, his mouth suppressing a satisfied smile. “I could go for a nice-”

                “Drew.” She pressed impatiently.

                “Right, sorry.” He apologized as he took Amela’s arm, visualizing the surroundings of what ‘down the street’ may look like as their current image of an empty parking lot and an old beat up high school vanished in a swirl of wind and colors.

***

“There,” Amela pointed to the red dot displayed on the blindingly bright computer screen, identifying the location of her home. “Think it’s possible?”

                “Oh, that’s just a few blocks from here.” His response was pleasant as he took the last sip of his Strawberry Frappuccino.

                “That’s such a girly drink.” Amela remarked in amusement, Drew’s expression shifting from enjoyable to insulted by her commentary.

                “Excuse you, but I don’t remember there ever being a rule book that says you have to be a girl to drink a Strawberry Frappuccino.” He replied bitterly, snapping his fingers in mock sass.

                “Alright, cowboy, don’t get pissy.” She laughed as she got up from the table, making her way towards the glass swinging doors of the café. “Let’s go, I need to see my mom.”

                “Cowboy?” Drew quirked as he got up, throwing the empty cup in the trash as he followed her outside and around the small building, disclosed from human view. “I don’t think I've ever been called a cowboy before.” He told her with an amused smile, taking her arm in his hand. “I kinda like it.”

                Amela made one last laugh in response as their surroundings shifted yet again with the works of Drew’s power, transforming the gray parking lot that stood outside the café to a mesh of different-shaded greens and browns. The feeling of teleportation left Amela with a distorted sight and a slight nausea in the pit of her stomach, as if tiny bugs were crawling through the inside of her abdomen. Her body swayed with the jolt of motion as her vision blurred in a mesh of colors, soon focusing on the view of her house; a white two-story with blue shutters and a wooden porch swing that suspended serenely near the doorway.

                “Nice house,” Drew commented, taking in the tranquil scenery of the home with calm tree’s that surrounded the household, swinging absently from left to right in the subtle breeze. The sky looked like a dejected painting, its colors consisting of a depressing gray, threatening to bring on a downpour.

                “Thanks,” She mumbled in response, stalking across the dead and dry lawn towards the front door, only to be stopped by Drew who had grabbed her arm.

                “Amela, wait,” He stood in front of her, as if attempting to block her view from the house. “Your mother doesn’t know who you are; she has no memory of you. If you just barge into a house that is no longer yours, she’ll most likely call the police.” His eyebrows were furrowed in concern, cautious and pleading, as if begging her not to move forward. “I know what this feeling is like, no longer having a family, we all do, but it’s the way it goes. In order to become a Protector, you have to give up everything.” 

                “Well maybe I don’t want to be a Protector!” Amela shouted at him, balling her fist in frustration. She felt her face burn with angry heat. “I never asked for any of this! I was chosen, but I never wanted to be fucking chosen. I want to just eat, sleep, and have a shitty average life like every other teenager in this god damn town!” She collapsed on the rough lawn, tugging her legs to her, wrapping her arms around them. She bent her head down, letting the tears drip slowly.

                Drew knelt down next to her, placing a feather light hand on her shoulder. “I know exactly how you feel, but you were chosen Amela, meaning you weren't meant to lead an average shitty life. You were born with a gift, a blessing, and you've been chosen by the most powerful forces known to exist. No matter what you could have done, this was meant to be your fate.” His tone was soft and understanding, mixing in with the sound of the slight gusts of wind that moved against them, ruffling their hair. 

                Amela raised her head slowly, her freshly tear stained cheeks bloomed red. “Is there a car in the driveway?” She asked quietly, voice faltering with the after effects of the recent hysteria.

                Drew glanced over her shoulder, observing an empty concrete driveway. “No,” He answered in a gentle tone. “Amela-”

                “I need to get my things,” She said, injecting strength back into her voice as she rose from her sitting position on the lawn. “No one’s home anyway, and I can’t wear this same outfit for the rest of my immortal life.” She added, attempting to add humor to the sad situation.

                “Alright,” He said; his face sank with pity. “I’ll wait here.”

                As he began to turn, Amela stopped him. “Drew?” She addressed his name in a question. “Will I ever see her again? Her or my friend Chastity? They’re the only two people I had left in the world, and I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye.”

                Amela couldn't decipher the look Drew had displayed in his features then as he remained silent. He looked as if he was thinking, but not of her question, of something else, as if he was travelling through a flashback within his memory. “I don’t know,” He finally answered in a voice so quiet Amela had to lean forward. “Just… don’t dwell, please? It won’t do either you or them any good.”

                With having said that he turned away, his face containing a distant pain and sorrow Amela had wanted to somehow comfort him from. “Pack up your things quick so we can get back to HQ. You have a shitload of training to start and we have a shitload of monsters we need to fight.”

***

Pam stirred the mashed potatoes quickly, the muscles in her arm working with the wooden spoon she clasped in her hand, her forehead sweating from the steam rising out of the pot. She emptied the thick contents of the pot in a large glass bowl, sprinkling chopped bacon bits and scallions to the mixture as an extra to add crunch and flavor.

                “Yo,” It was the voice of Allen, Pam knew, but the sudden disruption left her startled, her heart leaping out of her chest as she whirled around with wooden spoon in hand, her breathing heavy from the contemporary fright.

                “Jeez, Pam. You've lived with us since you were 18, and you still feel the need to threaten me with a wooden spoon whenever I greet you.” He spoke agitated, one hand up in surrender while the other clutched his laptop to his side. 

                “Sorry, Hun,” She apologized, slowly setting the spoon down on the counter behind her. “You know I get startled easily.”

                “Uh huh.” Was all he responded as he made his way over to the end-counter, perching himself on a stool and placing his computer on the work-top, opening it and punching the keys loudly. “Oh don’t mind me, continue you’re cooking session.” He dismissed after glancing up at Pam from behind his computer screen. “Shouldn’t you be assisting Harry and Maxus with hunting down those Parasites? Or perhaps helping Cameron, Jade and Valie with the Sludge research?” Pam inquired, retrieving a metal spatula from a kitchen draw and mixing the sizzling stir fry in a pan.

                “That is what I should be doing, but Harry and Maxus, like always, shut me down immediately if I’m ever assigned a task with them. And, well, you know Cameron; she threw a carrot at me when I insisted on helping them with the research.” Allen answered glumly, pausing his typing as he explained this to Pam. Her features then turned into sympathy, an expression well known to exist on Pam. “Now before you get all sappy,” He interjected Pam’s ready response of comfort, “Hawthorne wanted me to find the new girl’s powers anyway, and it takes forever to get the equipment set up, so by the time she gets back it should all be ready.”

                “This is ridiculous,” Pam continued to stir the mixture in the pan while shaking her head in irritation. “You are a Protector Allen; it is your job to join these missions with them. I have had enough with the others treating your position as Protector as if it doesn’t matter.” Allen remained silent at Pam’s honesty, his face contorted in a sullen expression. “I don’t get it either,” He confessed quietly after a few silent moments. “Telekinesis is such a needed power, not one to throw to the sidelines.”

                Pam glanced over in reaction from his choked tone, his eyes sad behind his glasses, his fire red hair ruffled and reflecting in the light from the overhead lamp. “Allen,” Pam ceased her cooking, soothing her voice down to a comforting tone before Allen abruptly pushed his stool back and swiped his laptop from the counter, frustrated. “Whatever,” He grumbled as he stalked towards the kitchen exit. “See you at dinner.” He said before departing through the swinging door.

***

Harry plunged the pedal of the Ferrari Enzo at top speed, the windows down, ruffling his and Maxus’s hair in the hard wind. “YEAH!” Maxus shouted from the passenger side, his fist clutching the handle of the roof to keep his balance with the car’s rapid speed. The trees blazed by, the image just a blur of green and brown. “How far from here?” Harry shouted over the blasting music and the punching wind that pounded their eardrums. “Oh, not far, the radar said just a few miles!” Maxus replied loudly, drumming his fingers against the dashboard to the sound of Black Sabbath thumping through the car.

                They continued to speed, cruising down the road fast; the sky overhead turning from a typical London gray to a mess of dark gray clouds, the sky they concealed behind them a dusk shade, specked with few stars. The dense forest on either side of the road began to lessen, shifting from thick trunks to thin twigs. The road that lay ahead revealed a wide opening of rocks and small boulders, the stream just before the slabs of gray rock and a broad cave.

                Harry pulled the car on the rocks, just a few yards away from the water; the stream a dark sheen of movement reflecting the moon that hung peacefully in the lightless sky. Rocks crunched under Harry’s shoes as him and Maxus stepped out, lowering the hovering car doors behind them, the wind ruffling Harry’s dark brown curls against his forehead. “How many you reckon are in there?” Maxus questioned, glancing at Harry curiously as they edged closer to the cave that stood before the rocks. Harry pulled out his radar drive; a device that detected monsters in the surrounding area. He drew the antenna out and extended the wire to the direction of the cave as they inched closer. The radar drive made a soft beeping sound, indicating only a few monsters. Whenever the radar drive went haywire, meaning the excess of the beeping was loud and persistent, there was usually a vast amount of monsters in the area.

                “There’s two bars,” Harry notified Maxus in a low voice, the slow hollow rumble of the cave sounding in his ears as they got closer. “So my guess is about three.”

                “Only three?” Maxus complained. “Really?”

                “Don’t be a brat.” Harry replied to his complaint in a dull tone. Maxus huffed as they entered the cave. He ignited a flame ball that erupted from his palm, casting the effects of torchlight throughout the pitch black cavern. The radar continued to beep dully, the red bars displayed on the green screen of the device remaining at two. “So what you think of that new chick, Amela, I think her name is.” Maxus asked, his deep voice echoing off the chiseled rock walls.

                “Right, her,” Harry replied in a somewhat agitated tone. “She’s alright, I guess.”

                His thoughts about her ever since that night he first met Amela in the training room had flown to and from his conscience like a Frisbee. The way she had looked at him, spoken to him; he’s never felt rejection like that before in his life. Usually, girls would throw themselves at him without so much as a second thought. He’s been told he had that effect so many times, of turning the good girls bad. He’s earned the title of the player, the dangerous one, and he’s endured the yelling, the blaming, and the crying, brokenhearted girls he would never call back. It was always a problem Harry had a hard time coping with; going in for a quick shag, and then suddenly they get attached, expecting an actual relationship with an adored affection Harry didn't have the time or care for.

                It’s not that he enjoyed breaking hearts; that was usually a habit he had tried to distance himself from, but girls had to be so sensitive it gave Harry migraines. Amela, however, was different. She was an opposite of the usual clingy object Harry dealt with far too much. She had walked away from him, she had actually left. Harry had questioned himself that night, pacing back and forth in his room, wondering what it was he did for her to be so repulsed by him. He’s never had to worry about his charms before, and he’s certainly never lost sleep over what a girl might think of him. “Shit.” He had mumbled agitatedly to himself that night, the image of her floating through his mind like a phantom. Then the next morning, when she had walked into the dining room, her long blonde hair slightly ruffled from sleep; her ocean blue eyes swam with awareness. She had to be his, Harry had thought to himself. He knew eventually she would cave, for Harry always got what he wanted. 

                “Alright?” Maxus emphasized. “Never have I heard you, Harry Styles, the alpha male of womanizing, to ever call a hot chick alright. I guess this means I can have her then-” 

                “I never said that,” Harry cut him off irritably. “I called her, remember.”

                Maxus rolled his eyes exasperatedly. “You know, we really gotta work out that whole calling thing cause I really-”

                “Shh,” Harry thrust his arm in front of Maxus, stopping him abruptly. The device went from a dull, soft beeping to a more urgent sound. “I don’t think they’re just hiding here,” Harry observed quietly. “They’re breeding.”

                “Breeding?” Maxus repeated inconsolably. “How many?”

                At Maxus’s last syllable, a flicker of movement caught Harry’s eye ahead in the hallow darkness; following the movement was an eerie crawling noise that spread throughout the dark cave. Suddenly, Maxus’s fire orb dimmed, the light flickering. “Stop that!” Harry whispered impatiently.

                “It’s not me.” Maxus replied.

                “How could the Parasites dim your powers?”

                “Well we are in their territory.”

                “They came to Earth; they’re on our territory.” Harry corrected him firmly.

                The two continued to bicker silently, the dust particles of the cave ceiling beginning to dwindle towards the hard rock floor. Harry and Maxus heard an echo, silencing them both as their heads snapped to the direction that went deeper into the cave. The now manic beeping of the radar device suddenly went silent. “That’s never happened before,” Harry mumbled quietly.

                Maxus obtained more of his manipulation strength, his muscles straining to force fire from his hands. “The cave’s weakening our powers.” He breathed as he struggled to surface the flames. Maxus mustered enough of his energy into a power blast; a large flame of which erupted from the center of the body and throughout, radiating from the heart. The flame grew in size, the extent of the light growing around them as he forced the fire outward, illuminating the rock walls that were now crawling with what appeared to be tiny transparent bugs.

                They continued to crawl past the two; appearing in the light coming from Maxus’ fire source, only to disappear with the light that faded behind them. They gained speed, crawling so fast they became just a blur of small clouded insects. Suddenly a yellow light, sort of like a flashlight, appeared deep in the crevice of the tunnel. The beam moved closer the where Harry and Maxus stood, the tiny parasites continuing to crawl hurriedly on the walls that surrounded them, towards the opening of the cave.  

                A sound went off; but a very peculiar sound you wouldn't think to hear deep in an enclosed space. It was a horn, the type you’d hear on a massive ship such as the Titanic, pending from the yellow light moving disturbingly close. The cavern shook from the sound waves, tiny translucent insects dropping from the walls to the rutted stone floor around Harry and Maxus’ feet, shriveling and burning as if the sound was cooking through them from the inside out.  

                “Is that a… flashlight?” Maxus asked; the center of his upper body still lit with fire.

                There was a boom, the source exploded; sending penetrating bright light in every direction. Harry stood his ground, unfazed by the explosion as he grabbed the sleeve of Maxus’ jacket with lightning speed, preventing him from being shot back by the blast. He knelt on one knee, leaning forward to oppose the force of the detonation, Maxus crouched on his stomach next him, shading his face from the thick shards of rock whizzing past them. 

                “MAXUS! USE THE FIRE BLAST NOW,” Harry shouted against the roar.

                Maxus got into a crouching position, Harry holding him up for support against the raging wind. There was a faint glow in Maxus’s chest, the glow burning brighter and brighter, transferring through his skin and catching aflame. His chest, arms, and palms were on fire; Maxus using his strength and power to build the intensity of the flames as they separated from his body, forming a giant sphere of fire that hovered in front of him, spiraling with a speed so great it caused a slight whirlwind in the gust already blasting against them. He punched the fire in the direction of the source that sounded the horn, a fire ball the size of giant tumbleweed barreling towards the monster. 

                There was an ear-splitting screech before the wind slowly died down, and the blinding light began to dim as the weakening of the monsters power advanced. Harry and Maxus straightened, lifting their heads up slowly, weary of any more rock shards that my jab them in the face. Maxus huffed, fixing his tousled hair and smoothing his leather jacket, knocking the dust off.

                “Holy shit,” The two said in unison, observing their wrecked surroundings. They had a clear view of a tall forest; the cave they were just recently concealed in was gone. The stream still bubbled far behind them; shattered boulder debris was strewn everywhere, creating the image of a rock wasteland. The sky had grown darker than when Harry and Maxus had first arrived at the now non-existent cave, the tattered murky clouds rolling ever so slowly under the star-streaked sky.

                “What’ll the humans make of this,” Maxus teased, him and Harry chuckling with the image of a London commoner going out for an afternoon stroll, only to find the once grand cave destroyed and scattered to bits.

                A wheezing noise sounded a few yards away from where they stood. “There,” Harry pointed after jerking their necks in haste, trying to find the source of the noise. They stumbled over the gray rocks towards a large shape buried in boulder fragments, the creature basically a life-size version of the tiny parasites that were crawling about in the cave. Blood was spattered over the rocks, along with a few insect arms and legs.

                Maxus made a disgusted sound as they got closer, the large parasite wedged between the heavy rocks, its translucent skin and body crushed. Beady black eyes stared aimlessly at the sky; the creatures’ antenna’s poking out through the rocks.

                “Reckon it’s carrying any diseases?” He asked Harry, the wind blowing faintly against them.

                “No, not this one, but burn it anyway.” He dismissed, stepping back to allow Maxus to set the hideous creature aflame. He let the fire blaze in his hand, forming a sphere of red heat the right size to destroy the beast, thrusting his palm and releasing the flame to the things body. The creature sizzled, sending an odor not too pleasant to the nostrils. “Alright, let’s get the hell out of here.” Harry said before him and Maxus turned, walking back down the large, thick rubble towards the stream.

***

By the time Amela and Drew had returned to HQ, night had fallen and Pam issued Amela to the green room on the second floor where she was supposed to stay in the first night. She had lazily unpacked her things, her muscles feeling weak and sore, maybe from all the teleporting. Amela still didn’t exactly know what to make of all these crazy events that seemed to inhabit her life at once. For all she knew, everyone could have lied to her; this could all just be some heartless prank and she could be in this giant house with a bunch of batshit crazies. But, something had kept Amela from drawing that conclusion; a feeling, deep inside her that told her this was what she was meant to do.

                Drew had said it was Amela’s fate to be one of them, and at that moment she knew he was right. All her life, she had always felt she needed to do more; to be worth more to the world than just a teenager going to school and failing all her classes. It was a feeling she couldn’t describe, but she never felt quite average, though every aspect of her life was average up until now. She missed Chastity, her best friend since second grade. They did everything together, and now given with what Amela has been granted with, by the looks of it she’ll never see her best friend again. The pain for her mother could have been worse, but Amela and her mom didn’t share the closest relationship. Her mother was always gone; off to work, or to meet up with friends for some business meeting or maybe a Martini. Ever since Amela’s father had passed, her mother had grown distant and lost; never quite looking at Amela when they stood face to face. She had looked into her daughter’s eyes, but her mind and happiness had disappeared along with her husband’s soul.

                Amela continued to transfer the contents of her duffle bag to the fancy dark oak dresser, placing her dirty clothes in the waste basket beside the bureau; her new clothes she had showered and changed into consisting of gray sweat shorts, and her old Spring Lake High white t-shirt she had gotten in 10th grade. She tied her hair back into a messy ponytail, her blonde locks still slightly damp from the shower. 

                She heard a knock at the door, probably Pam delivering more pillows that she already had a fresh set of. Amela padded soundlessly across the wooden floor over to the door, placing her hand on the brass knob before swinging the door open, only to find that the guest wasn't Pam at all. 

                Harry. He leant on the door frame, like he had done in the training room, wearing a black tank, his toned biceps even more defined with his arms crossed. His hair was a mess of tousled curls, also slightly damp from the shower he had probably just taken. “Hey,” He greeted slowly, his voice husky and deep. “Mind if I pop in?” 

                “What do you want?” Amela tried to sound agitated, but her heart beat quickened at the sight of him. “I’m busy.”

                “Busy with what?” He questioned, poking his head in slightly to glance around the room. “I don’t see anyone in here, unless you've got another guy hidden in your closet.” 

                “And what if I did?” She mocked.

                “I’d beat the shit out of him.”

                Amela huffed in annoyance, about to close the door on him when he stopped it with his foot. He retrieved from his leaning position on the door frame, moving in closer to Amela, entering the room fully. She backed away, her footsteps retreating from his edging ones. “This is my bedroom,” Amela protested as he continued to move closer, amusement in his expression. “And I want you to leave.”

                “All the more reason for me to stay,” He replied with a smirk, their distance growing smaller. He proceeded to move forward, causing Amela to back against the bed post. Now she was cornered. He towered over her, his tall frame built and strong as he rested his hand on the small of her back, inching her shirt up slowly. Harry’s cologne wafted Amela, mixed with his hot and seducing breath that fanned her face, causing her pulse to accelerate dangerously. She tried to form words, but they wouldn’t come out as he leaned forward, his full lips resting on her neck. He sucked slowly, gradually placing hickeys up her neck as he got to her jaw bone, then her lips-

                “No,” She stopped him, breathless. She placed her hands on his rock-hard chest, attempting to push him away, but her arms felt weak seeing as he didn't even budge; it was like trying to move a solid boulder. 

                His expression grew morbid, his eyebrows locked in an angry frown. “What do you mean no,” He said through gritted teeth, his hand tightening on her back. 

                “Leave.” Was all she could force out, fear taking over as she gazed up nervously at his expression that was now fuming. His grip tightened on the bedpost. The wood began to crush beneath his strong fingers, causing the canopy of the bed to collapse. He used his hand that still held her back to pull her away from the now crumpling bed, shielding her from the splinters of wood that flew in all directions. He held her tight, his solid arms fitting securely around her small frame. After having collapsed, the commotion of the bed grew silent, Harry still holding her firmly. She glanced up at his strong profile that gazed down at her, his eyes swimming with austerity. After a few moments of slow, silent breathing, he released her, angrily moving past her towards the door, to which he opened and slammed shut so forcefully the hinges broke.

                Amela stood frozen, shocked and confused about what had just happened. When she recovered, she turned slowly, preparing her eyes for the destructed sight of the once elegant and dainty bed. It was destructed alright; the top canopy of the bed that had collapsed now crushed the mattress under it, wood and tattered bed sheets strewn across the disarray. She heard rapid footsteps approach down the hallway. Pam.

                She appeared in the doorway, after attempting to push the door open, only for it to fall to the ground loudly from when Harry had detached it. Her face was paralyzed in horror, looking around the destroyed room that was tidy and clean barely twenty minutes ago. “Wha… what ha-” Her voice faltered in heartbreak.

                Amela felt immediate guilt wash over her as she ran to Pam, dodging the wood splinters that lay scattered and stepping awkwardly across the door that had fallen to the floor. “Pam, I’m so sorry, I-”

                “No, no,” She interrupted, holding her hand up as a signal to silence her. “There has been much damage to this residence, far more severe than this.” She gazed around the room with steady concentration. “Looks like we’re going to need a broom.” 

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