Return to Lazarus

After eight years of hunting ill-willed people with superpowers, nicknamed Talents, and recovering from tragedy, childhood friends Dallan and Ana battle an enchantress. During the process, Dallan is sent forward in time to see what the future- a future without Ana- really holds. As Ana struggles to have him returned to his proper time, Dallan faces his future-self and the mysterious girl, called Rox, that knows so much about what is to come when he returns to the present.

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3. Together, Eight Years Later

“Chase should be here by now.” Dallan placed his phone back into the pocket of his jacket, then pulling his coat collar up against the wind as they passed by another brilliantly lit antique store.

“Forget it. We’ve been walking up and down this street for half an hour with no contact,” Ana mumbled, looking longingly over at the warm coffee shop. “Even for him, it’s late.”

            “What did he say this was about?” Dallan rubbed his hands together, trying to refrain from feeling the cold air.

            “An enchanter,” Ana replied, her teeth beginning to chatter. “One that specializes in sending people back in time.” She let out a half-hearted laugh. “That is something we have never dealt with before.”

            “Not that I’m surprised. Everything in every town is different.” He shrugged, rocking back so that he could lean against the brick wall. “On the bright side, an enchanter is human, right? They must be easier to kill.”

            “I hope,” she moaned. Ana joined him against the wall of the brick building that was illuminated by a dim streetlight. “I do know that they love the color gold. Enchanters are greedy and angry little people, but since this isn’t the dark ages, they won’t be old men with beards.” Ana relished in another stare at the café, as a young woman came out with a hot drink in hand. 

            Dallan caught her gaze, following her line of sight to the nearly empty shop with space-age furniture and pop-culture posters covering the walls. He could see bean bags that had seen better days in the corner and Victorian armchairs at every fluorescent blue table. And yet somehow he knew Ana was intrigued by it, though it confused him.

            “I don’t know,” he said warily, staring at from across the street at the café. “It looks edgy.” 

             “Says the man who eats gas station hot dogs,” Ana snorted. She led the way towards the coffee shop, pulling her jacket closer around her against the wind. 

            She pushed open the glass door and a bell rang somewhere in the strange room. Her nose was greeted with the smell of white-chocolate cookies and caramel coffee, and warmth that comforted her from the freezing winter outdoors. Dallan was not far behind her, his tall figure casting a shadow on her.

            “Welcome to The Dark Side,” came the sinister voice of the blue-haired teenager manning the cash register. It was almost threatening.

            “W-What?” It was Ana’s hesitant voice that responded first. Not again, she thought.

            “Told you so.” Dallan whispered in her ear before clutching the dagger on the inside of his coat.

            A hand thwacked the back on the cashier’s head. “Ignore Rhett,” came a sweet voice. “He only works here to say that.” A petite woman appeared wearing a tank top that had ‘Destroy the Patriarchy’ written in bold on the front. She pushed her short white-pink hair out of her face as she walked towards the door, pressing a button on the wall that let the blinds fall over the windows.  

            The teen’s hazel eyes wandered the floor for a moment, confused. “The Dark Side?” Rhett pointed to the front window, where ‘The Dark Side’ had been stenciled in red paint. “It’s the name of the place.”

            “We were about to close up,” the woman added with a smile. “But I’m sure my nerd Rhett can whip up something for you.” Dallan’s fingers unhinged from his blade, so that is remained hidden under the jacket. He relaxed.

            “Vivian, if watching ‘Doctor Who’ makes me a nerd, then so be it,” Rhett replied.

“You came to work dress as the main character!”

“Are you mad about me dressing up as the time-traveler or the detective?” Rhett said after a moment’s pondering. “Because I have done both.”

“Both!” Vivian replied, exasperated.

            Both Ana and Dallan released tension in their shoulders, stepping deeper into the coffee shop as Rhett launched into a monologue about the reasons to watch the science fiction television show.

            “See? Nothing to worry about,” Ana whispered, warily looking over at the arguing employees. “Just a normal coffee shop, with normal humans. There are no Talents. There is nothing to kill. Nothing to worry about.” She shrugged, spinning around to face her friend. “Just normal… and as a normal person, I am going to go to the bathroom and you are going to order me a coffee.” She flashed a quick smile before disappearing behind the wide, almost Medieval-style wooden door that led to the bathrooms.

            Dallan regarded the heavy metal being played softly in the background of the room. He then stared with disdain at the poster of the dark-haired man wearing a winged helmet, with the caption ‘RISE’ underneath it.

            “Weird,” he muttered under his breath before deciding to walk over to the counter to order something. The collection of exotic furs and decorative rugs that lined the floor padded his footsteps so that Rhett and Vivian did not notice his presence until he was standing in front of them.

            “I don’t care about your stupid show, Rhett,” Vivian sighed. She rolled her eyes, but they stopped at Dallan, her jaw clenching. And then Dallan  noticed: her eyes were yellow. They weren’t amber or the color of sunlight going through a glass of whiskey- her eyes were neon yellow.

            “But if you just give the show a chance, I promise you that-“

            “Oh, go blog about it,” she groaned, standing on the tips of her toes to ruffle his blue-tipped black hair. Rhett looked as if he was about say something else, a clever comeback to Vivian’s burning words, but no thought came, and in the end he stormed away to back room. “Nerd,” she muttered. Her words did not suit the high-pitched, sweet-as-honey voice that they belonged to.

            She turned to Dallan, the anger from her features vanished and a smile appearing in their place. “How may I help you?”

            Dallan hesitated, caught in a trance by Vivian’s golden eyes that were outlined in thick black strokes of eyeliner. Her face was almost doll-like. Smooth skin that was as pale as milk, with a pink tinge that matched her short hair that framed her face and black earring studs. Her thin, pink lips formed his name, nothing more than a whisper as he was pulled out of his thoughts and back into reality.

            “Dallan?” Vivian called for the third time, his mind finally allowing him to hear the word. He shook his head, closing his eyes and opening them again to gain his bearings.

            “How… How do you know my name?” Dallan said, finally analyzing his surroundings.

            “Oh,” she smiled, bobbing up and a down for a moment. “I’m glad you’re back.”

            “Have we ever met before?” He shook his head again, trying to clear her image.

            “I would have remembered,” she laughed, leaning forward. Vivian suddenly grabbed Dallan’s jacket, pulling him towards her for a quick and yet passionate kiss that made Dallan feel like he was glowing. Pettily, she pushed him back. “Now, how do you want it?” Dallan blinked, in shock from the barista’s sudden advance. Dallan turned his head to the side, confused.

            “Oh, coffee, you mean coffee, right?”

            “Nope,” Vivian replied quickly, leaned back against the wall and putting on deep rose colored lipstick. She puckered her lips quickly, testing out the color in the reflection of the glass cupboard.

            He realized- and all too late- what was happening. His hand was suddenly inside the leather jacket, wrapping its fingers around the jagged dagger before he could command his arms to move themselves. “Then, what do you mean?”

            “I mean your death, sweetie,” Vivian said with a smile. She shrugged, spinning around to reach behind the counter for her dagger. “Well, I was supposed to burn you at the stake, but that would be doing what the man wants and… we can’t have that, can we?” She casually sat down in a black Victorian arm chair sideways, her legs hanging off of armrest.

“You’re the witch.” Dallan pursed his lips, pulling the dagger out, and clenching it firmly by his side.

“No, enchantress, darling.” She was cleaning off the blade on her white skirt, fragments of crusted blood rubbing off onto the cloth.

“VIVIAN!” It was Rhett who ran into the room, his wide-framed hipster glasses hanging sideways on his face. “I knew he looked familiar. He’s the one the Altruist wants!” His large eyes glanced between Vivian and Dallan as he paused for a moment to adjust his glasses. “Good, you got him cornered. Now let’s turn him in!  I can use him as leverage. I can- I can  finally get a Talent like the rest of you!”

“Oh shut it, rookie, I’m busy,” Vivian snapped back at him. Rhett’s mouth clamped shut, a fear in his eyes as he saw the dagger in her hand. “That was never the plan.” Dallan glanced between the pink-haired woman and the teen, unsure of what to do.

“But he said-“

“I know what he said,” Vivian replied casually. She bit her lip, taking a deep breath to compose herself. “But you know my way.  Destroy the patriarchy, screw the world over, and never do what the people want.”

“But, if I want to get a Talent-“

“Yes, dear, I know you want to get a Talent,” Vivian groaned, standing up and sauntering towards the boy. “God, you never shut up about it.”

“Alright, I’m done here,” Dallan whispered, pulling the dagger up from his side. There was no need to think, now, just a reflex acted, aiming and throwing the dagger towards the back of Vivian’s neck as she vented to Rhett.

And then she was gone.

The dagger had planted itself in Rhett’s throat, blood covering his hands as he clutched his neck in agony. He collapsed to the floor, his eyes wide in terror as he desperately tried to breathe. He coughed red, startled to see it. The hazel eyes of the teen filled in horror.

With a groan, the bathroom door opened and Ana walked out, wiping her wet hands on her jeans. She looked up, expecting to see hot coffee waiting, but instead saw a victim struggling for life. Without much thought, she pulled out her own dagger, pulling it close to her lips and whispering its name so that it extended to a full-size sword.

“It took you long enough,” Dallan rebuked, only to be met by Ana rolling her blue eyes.

“There are things that a lady needs to do,” Ana replied with a smile. She hesitated for a moment, analyzing the situation. “The enchantress?” Ana asked for clarification. Dallan nodded, cautiously looking around him, wondering where the trickster had ventured off to, as Ana kneeled down beside Rhett, who was already losing consciousness.

“You had me talking, darling.” Vivian’s voice laughed, though her face was nowhere to be seen. “You should have relished in such an opportunity. I have such good insight. Perhaps I could have aided you in your…” She faded off, as if looking for the right words. Ana thought ‘killing spree’ might have done nicely, but Vivian seemed to be far too polite. “Your adventures.”

“You have heard of us,” Dallan said, as more a statement then a question. Carefully, he moved forward, reaching the lifeless teen, and wrenching his dagger free from the corpse. Ana had tried to stop the bleeding, but to no avail.

“Many people have,” Vivian’s voice cooed. “You have names too. ‘The boy who refused to burn’ and ‘the archangel.’ You are something of a celebrity in this world. I’m surprised I didn’t shoot you on sight.”

“And yet you didn’t,” Ana replied, trying to buy her time. She stood, her sword in hand.

“Killing is overrated,” Vivian snorted. “I like to have fun.”

And then she was there- a keen smile stretched across her face as she approached Dallan. Her hands began to glow and she jumped up from behind him, wrapping her arms tightly around his neck. Before Ana or Dallan could react Vivian’s eyes flashed a hint of playfulness, and then she had landed on the floor.

Ana gasped, searching the room for Dallan who had seemed to vanish, as if he had sunken into the floor.     She pointed her sword forward at Vivian threateningly.

“What did you do to him?” She spat, stepping closer to the enchantress who was back on her feet, sweat glistening on her forehead.

‘Oh, little angel, you should thank me,” Vivian replied sweetly, though she was short of breath. “Not many people get a taste their future.” 

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