Ashleigh couldn’t hold my glare at her. Something was ready to fight back in me.
‘I didn’t mean this to happen to you. You saved someone who should have died!’ Ashleigh pleaded, as if it would convince me.
‘How long have I got?’ I looked her in the eyes, wanting a serious answer.
‘I’m not…’ Ashleigh mumbled.
‘HOW LONG HAVE I GOT?!’ I was an exploding volcano.
‘You have only today at least, Amelia. I’m so sorry.’ Ashleigh crumbled like a cookie being stamped into the ground more than once.
‘Is there an antidote?’ my right hand was shaking.
‘No.’ Ashleigh crumbled even more.
‘You’ll both scarper out of here and back to where you came from, which means you need to go back to the hospital, Mum. Then I want you to stay there and never return. Mother, I always loved you because you cared for me, and now for this, you’ve broken my trust in you. I don’t know how I can trust you again, if I live that long. Now SCRAM!’ I growled.
They both ran out the room and tires screeched away from the warehouse. I stood by myself just for a second and then fell to my knees. I felt my vision fading and I heard feet running towards me. I then let my body fall to the floor. My head connected with the floor again. I wished whoever was coming for me would let nature take its course and let me die my own way.
‘Found you, Kiddo.’ John whispered, but I could just about hear him.
John and Carter had run into the main room, finding me unconscious on the floor. My face felt peaceful and calm. John picked up the top half of my body and looked for any signs of life from me. Then I coughed awake a little in his grip. John and Carter sighed of relief.
‘Amy, can you hear us?’ Carter smirked.
‘I can just about, sadly.’ I sighed deeply, coming round a little.
‘Carter, help me get the little joker up. We need to take someone home.’ John laughed.
Not one of us knew what was incoming with power that could tear our family apart. My mind was racing as I took in my surroundings. I wanted to be left alone, yet hold onto John forever.
‘I can still hear you, bimbo!’ I growled at my Johny.
‘Yeah, she’s back and she means business.’ Carter laughed.
Carter and John then held me up, one of my arms over their shoulders. Carter supported my left and John supported my right. They both got me to the Jeeps and sat me down in the back of my own Jeep. John let Carter drive Carter’s Jeep back whilst John drove my Jeep back to the base. The journey was long, but we made it. Our tires screeched on the tarmac. Carter and John got out our Jeeps and then came into the main room of the base, helping me walk. Mark walked to me and then he took me from their grip and he helped me onto the sofa.
‘Are you trying to give me a heart attack, running off like this?’ Mark sighed, trying to calm his anger at what I did at a minimum.
‘No. I’m doing my job.’ I stood up and looked right at Mark.
‘Amy, you can’t leave here until we think you’ll be ok.’ Mark was grounding me.
‘No. Grounding me won’t work. It never worked for Mum.’ I let my anger start building.
Sirens wailed as the scanners started working. I ran to the scanners and found what the commotion was about. This wasn’t good.
‘We’ve got company!’ I spotted the twelve red dots moving towards the base.
‘How could they find the base?’ Edward looked nervous.
‘Ashleigh Thomas.’ I growled, my head starting to throb from the impacts on the ground.
The red dots then stopped right around the base. We were surrounded. My right elbow slipped on the controls. Jacob ran to me and helped me stand properly. My heart is now officially a drum. I wish it wasn’t but at least I know sooner rather than later.
‘They knew. They knew I was their best fighter. They knew I would be weaker so I couldn’t fight!’ I was piecing things together in Ashleigh’s plan.
‘You’re saying that like they knew you’d stop your brother from being poisoned.’ Eleanor laughed weakly.
‘That’s exactly what I’m saying. They had Ashleigh Thomas! She’s the woman I was stuck with my entire life up to the other week, so she’s told the Falling Stars that I would save anyone in my family for anything. That is why I’m this way.’ I looked at Mark.
Mark walked to me and held me close. I tried to hold it together. The sirens pierced the silence. The controls flashed a warning. I looked at the screen. I knew what I had to do. I kept typing into the controls. Metal thumped down. Everything was bleeping and I was able to keep up with the machines. I was fighting with all I had in me.
‘Ben, it’s time we used that plan of yours.’ I kept my eyes on the screen.
‘Get in!’ Ben laughed, making a fist and pulling it towards his chest by his bent elbow, and walked to his wall.
The wall turned around and it came back, showing a load of weapons. Guns and other gadgets covered the wall. I was breathing heavily. Pain flashed over my face.
‘Amy, should you be…?’ John started and then I looked right at him with all my anger in one shot, which made him shiver he hated it so much.
‘I’m doing this, John Thomas, because no one else remembers the protection code, because it’s my code. I have to do this otherwise this base goes BOOM! Do you want to lose this base like I thought I had before?’ I interrupted, my anger rolling off my tongue.
‘No. What do you want us to do?’ John sighed deeply.
‘Ben, get different teams going round the building. I can try and keep them from getting here, but I don’t know how long I can hold them from getting to the controls.’ I sounded like this was the last time I would see my family, which I wished it wasn’t.
‘We can do what we can. Edward, take Carter, Eleanor, Mike and Bradley to cover the East entrance. Ruth, take Sophie, Susan and Kate to cover the West entrance. Isaac, take Cameron, John and Jacob to cover the South entrance. Finley, take Matt, Mark, Gemma with me to cover the North entrance. Amy, will you be alright on your own to cover the control room?’ Ben looked at his Niece, thinking I couldn’t be running round a lot.
‘I’ll be fine. We have radios. We can talk to each other through those. You’d better hurry before they get into the building. Go, I’ll be fine, just trust me.’ I smirked at them all.
They all smirked at each other and then they all left in their different ways. Silence echoed through the room with just me in the main room. I then felt lonely and ready to fight or break. I didn’t know which way would be the best to go down.
I could see on the CCTV camera Edward leading his parents and two brothers down the corridor, holding onto their guns and their bulletproof jackets covering their chests. They all walked down the corridor and found the entrance. They saw they were being forced open.
‘AT2, this is ET2. East entrance is being prised open, over.’ Edward sighed down the radio.
‘ET2, use Carter’s gun. That was a laser gun, over.’ I replied.
Edward signalled for Carter to use his gun. He fired it and the laser beamed out, sealing the door shut. Yells echoed through the door on the other side. I didn’t like the sounds I got from the CCTV. I hoped there weren’t many casualties, even if they were Falling Stars.
‘AT2, East entrance is blocked off, over.’ Edward laughed loudly, making the radio crackle.
‘ET2, good work, guys. If you think it’s secure, go to either the West or the South Entrance and support the teams with only four. Be quick and clear where you’re going, over.’ I replied.
I turned my attention to the CCTV of the West entrance. Ruth ran with her sister, Sophie, her Mum, Susan and her cousin, Kate. The doors were very close to being opened. They tried to lean against the doors. They were struggling to keep the Falling Stars out of the base.
‘AT2, this is RT2! Assistance needed to West entrance. They’re pushing the doors open, over!’ Ruth yelled down the radio.
‘RT2, I’ll send ET2’s group down to you. They sealed the door so they can’t get in, over.’ I replied.
‘AT2 thanks, over.’ Ruth growled.
‘ET2, West entrance needs assistance ASAP. The Falling Stars are pushing the doors open. Get down there now, over!’ I called.
‘AT2, we’re on our way, over.’ Edward called as he ran down the corridors with his family.
‘RT2, ET2 is coming down your way ASAP, over.’ I called.
‘AT2, thanks for that, over.’ Ruth sighed and then growled with the strain.
Edward just managed to make it to the West entrance. He slammed into the doors and they shut more than a few seconds go, but Edward flinched at the pain. Carter just reached them and got his gun ready.
‘Move out the way! I can seal it!’ Carter had his gun aimed at the door.
They all moved and then the laser sealed the door and the Falling Stars only had two more chances to get in through. Carter laughed out of breath and they all looked exhausted.
‘Nice going, kid.’ Mike laughed.
‘AT2, this is CT2. East and West entrances are sealed, over.’ Carter laughed.
‘CT2, that’s a good thing. Patrol the building until I call in there is need of your gun, Carter, over.’ I sighed deeply, trying to keep the poison at bay.
The control room was eerily silent. The little red dots were collecting at the North and South entrances. There were loads at each door. Then the radios went off. My attention was caught by the CCTV on the North entrance. Problems had occurred.
‘AT2, assistance needed at North entrance. We can’t hold it any more, over!’ Finley called in.
‘FT, I’ll get ET2’s group down to you, over.’ I called, ‘ET2, assistance needed to North entrance. Get RT2’s team down to South entrance. They haven’t gotten into contact at all, over.’ I was getting nervous.
I could see Edward lead his team towards the North entrance on the CCTV screen. The team already down there were struggling to hold the doors. Carter got there and got his gun loaded. Everyone moved away and the laser did its job. No one could get through the doors.
‘CT, what’s going on down your end, over?’ I tried to make contact.
Crackling echoed through the room. Something was wrong and that group were stuck in it.
‘JT2, what’s going on down there, over?’ I was worried.
Crackling echoed again. Red dots were in the building. They’d broken through the door.
‘RT2, what’s going on down the South entrance, over?’ I called.
‘AT2, they’ve gotten through. We can’t see any of the team that should have been down there, over.’ Ruth called back.
I felt broken. My Johny and Jakey had been down there. My Uncle Cameron and Cousin Isaac had been down there too. I wanted to break. Feet were marching towards me. I typed in codes hopefully blocking me off from the Falling Stars. The shields came down and I was locked in. I really was on my own.
‘AT2, where are the soldiers, over?’ It was Finley.
‘FT, they’re outside the control room. I’ve locked it, so no one can get in or out. Finley, do something for me, over.’ I was breaking.
‘AT2, I’ll do anything, over.’ Finley replied.
‘FT, find everyone who should have been at the South entrance. They haven’t come through once on the radio. John and Jacob were down there. Just find as many of them as you can. It should have been Isaac, Uncle Cameron, John and Jacob down there. Ruth’s team went down there, but they’ll need help, over.’ I didn’t know how much longer I could hold together.
‘AT2, we’ll find them. Are you locked in, over?’ Finley sighed deeply.
‘FT, yes, I’m locked in and if they get in, I don’t know they’ll allow me to live, if I get through the poison. You were an amazing brother. Tell…tell Dad and Matt I love them and I’m sorry. I love you, Finley Thomas. Remember our crash and find out the truth. I might see you on the other side, over.’ I was broken and I knew something none of them did.
The shiny metal doors that locked me in might never open again. I would die alone. The doors banged and then I had the most brilliant idea. I jumped up and down and then ran to my room. I grabbed my microphone. I ran downstairs and started finding the plugs to connect the microphone and the main controls together.
‘AT2, this is MT2. What’s going on, over?’ Matt had gotten into the main control room.
‘MT2, I’m doing my job. You’ll like what I’m about to do. Stay strong for me, Matt. I don’t know I’ll make it out of here alive now, so just please hold on and then we’ll sort this out, over.’ I was getting stronger.
I was getting stronger and then I saw the metal doors. Everything was going downhill from there. The poison washed through my body. I hadn’t turned off the radio from talking to Matt when I screamed out from the pain.
‘AT2, what’s going on, over?’ Matt called with fear in his voice as he got through to me.
‘MT2, the poison is coming back and I can sense death is waiting for me. I’m sorry about this. I can do one last thing, I think. Matt, I need you to help Finley to find our brothers. Please, as a last request from me for the moment. Just find Jacob and John. Please, do it for me, over.’ I felt stronger by a little bit.
‘AT2, you’ve twisted my arm. I’ll go and find them, but what’s your plan, over?’ Matt sighed, surrendering to my request.
‘MT2, if I told you that, I’d have to kill you. It’s just like the good old times, eh, over?’ I laughed.
I then finished the machine with the microphone. I set it up and got ready to use it. Then the doors banged again. My family needed me and I wasn’t backing down this time.
‘Not so fast, kids. I’ve got a family to save.’ I smirked.
I plugged the microphone into the main console. The microphone was like one of those that the teachers in American schools used to have messages sent all over the school with quite easily. I was ready to use it. Then I pushed the red button on the microphone’s base.
‘Attention, all TSB members! This is Amelia Thomas. All Falling Stars spies are surrounding the main control centre. If you’d like to have a good fight, come and fight them. This is no joke, but beware what I say, Falling Stars. All I say is that once you mess with Amelia Thomas, there’s no turning back! So it’s your choice, whether you stay and get beaten by my family, or you run like little chickens OUT OF OUR BASE! That is all, thank you, over and out, TSB!’ I enjoyed messing the Falling Stars around.
The Falling Stars dots headed out through the South entrance, exactly where they entered. I pressed some controls and the metal doors clunked open as they rose above the door frames. Once they were all up I looked around to see what damage had been made. Then my knees felt weak. I tried to walk to the sofa, but I didn’t make it and I fell to my knees.
Feet ran towards the main control room. I was struggling to see now, but I could move. I got to my feet and almost fell on the stairs. The feet got closer and closer. I just made it to my room and to my bed. Then I struggled to look at things. I saw my painting on the wall. The figure of me had moved. I was now next to our family and now there were three more people. John and Finley were on either side of me. Bradley was stood with Carter and Edward. A sticky note was stuck on the wall. It had one clear word: Dad.
‘Dad, you’re amazing.’ I smirked.
Then everything slowed down. My vision came back and everyone was calling my name as I stood close to my door, ready to leave to see everyone. I couldn’t hear John or Jacob. Then I felt a presence in my room. It wasn’t a good one. I felt the familiarity of the figure and a hand clamped over my mouth and an arm around my waist. I screamed out. Mark ran yelling my name and knocked the person back, grabbing me away from them. It was none other than Ashleigh. I should have expected that.
‘What are you doing, Ashleigh?’ Mark hissed, ready to defend me to the end.
‘I’m taking my daughter back with me.’ Ashleigh growled.
Mark released my waist and then I felt ready to scream again for our parents not to fight over me. Then I saw the object in Ashleigh’s right hand. It was an automatic gun. I pulled at Mark’s left arm. He shook me off.
‘Amy, I’ll deal with this.’ Mark growled.
‘Dad, you can’t!’ I pleaded.
‘I haven’t got a choice. I can’t let you deal with this.’ Mark looked me in the eyes.
‘DAD, SHE HAS A GUN!’ I was getting broken by both of them under ten seconds.
Mark then saw the gun in Ashleigh’s right hand. Mark’s breathing quickened.
‘Amy, I’m actually glad you see small details quickly sometimes.’ Mark sighed, laughing nervously.
‘That would be the ASD, Dad.’ I was ready to pull out the machine in my pocket.
‘What’s ASD?’ Ashleigh looked confused.
‘It’s the shorter name for my Autism, Mum: the Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Did you forget that?’ I looked at her in confusion.
Ashleigh pulled the gun up, aiming right at Mark. I was ready to stand in front of Mark.
‘You caused this!’ Ashleigh hissed.
‘Dad, leave her to me.’ I looked Mark in the eyes.
‘I’m not-!’ Mark started, not knowing what my plan was.
‘Don’t argue with me, Mark Thomas. I don’t know where two of my brothers are and I’m not prepared to lose any of my parents, so Dad, GO!’ I half chucked him out the room.
Ashleigh held the shaking gun at my stomach. Her confidence had shrunk in front of me.
‘Are you really going to fire that thing at your daughter?’ I was calmer than a few seconds ago.
‘I…I can’t lose you. You’ll hate me for this!’ Ashleigh was breaking.
‘What did they do with John and Jacob?’ I was worried about my Johny and Jakey, the two I wanted to hold close to the end.
‘They might be dead or they could be locked up somewhere. Amy, please don’t make me do this!’ Ashleigh pleaded, the gun shaking violently in her grip.
‘Mum, just put the gun down. You don’t need to use it.’ I was doing well with my confidence, even with a gun pointed at me.
‘No. This is why your father and I argued. We both wanted you after the divorce, but neither of us would give you up.’ Ashleigh growled.
‘So you took me instead and didn’t let my own DAD SEE ME!’ I was breaking.
‘I couldn’t leave you on your own in a house of boys.’ Ashleigh snarled.
‘I could have coped! That’s why I’m a fighter!’ I was getting angry.
Ashleigh threw the gun to the ground. The gun fired and just missed my left foot. Ashleigh ran at me and tried to fight me. Luckily for me, I knew how to defend myself from angry people. Everyone was downstairs, except for the ones who were at the South entrance.
‘Tell me again why you took me!’ I called.
‘You couldn’t be brought up with boys ruling the household!’ Ashleigh tried to get me in the back.
I stepped backwards towards the stairs. Ashleigh then had the best idea ever.
‘Mum, you took me because you didn’t want me to be like my brothers. That’s why you ran off with me and why you only allowed John to see me. You didn’t want Dad to get to me, but he hasn’t. Mum, he’s helped me to find out who I am. You helped him do that.’ I looked right into her eyes.
‘He couldn’t have! He was never there!’ Ashleigh growled.
Ashleigh then pushed me back and I almost fell down the stairs. I pulled out the machine in my pocket. The big red button stuck out the top. The button was pushed and then the stairs turned into a slide. I slid down the slide and then stood up at the bottom and changed them back to stairs.
‘Get back here, Child!’ Ashleigh yelled.
‘No.’ I was ready to stop what Ashleigh was going to throw at me.
The poison came back again and then I clenched my hands into fists as Ashleigh ran down the stairs. She tried to attack me. Luckily she kept missing. I climbed onto a table, just out of her reach. Another gun was pulled from her coat pocket. I was defenceless, yet I was smirking. The family knew I was up to something that Ashleigh hadn’t twigged yet.
‘Mum, when you have a daughter like me, the ones you keep me away from aren’t my brothers, but my mischievous cousins, Edward, Carter, Isaac and Bradley! This is why.’ I then held up the ammunition for Ashleigh’s gun that was in her hand.
‘How did you-?’ Ashleigh was in shock.
‘Did you really think some little things from my family wouldn’t rub off on me? Oh, Ben, you might want your car keys.’ I chucked them back to him from my coat pocket.
‘The kid’s just as bad as her cousins.’ Ben laughed.
‘That’s me, youngest in the family and ready to kick your backside, Mum, because you got two of my brothers, one of my Uncles and one of my charmingly mischievous cousins to disappear and you kill one of my Uncles and left him for me to find when I just found that my brother who died when I was seven was actually alive, you go and do that to me. You have great mothering skills, Ashleigh.’ I smirked at Ashleigh.
Ashleigh just froze. I jumped down and sat on the table. I felt calm and worried what our mother might do next.
‘You started all this…’ Ashleigh started getting angry.
‘Yeah, so sorry that you decided to have another baby with Dad and it turned out to be a girl, to be me, like that’s really my fault. Thanks for that, Mum.’ I growled with sarcasm.
‘Put a sock in it young lady.’ Ashleigh growled.
I got off the table and looked right at Ashleigh, my anger rocketing.
‘You shouldn’t have said that.’ I felt ready to pounce.
‘Amelia Thomas, you’re a little girl, of course I can say that!’ Ashleigh thundered.
‘I’m not fully, Mum. You didn’t even notice what your daughter was turning into. I’m not just the youngest kid in the family. I’m a growing up quick Tom-boy-girly-girl ready to fight for what is right, not what we think would work, but we’ll do it anyway. I fight for the right things so I’d run if I were you, Mum, before I start chasing you out of here.’ I felt like a lion ready to pounce on their prey.
Ashleigh looked shocked. I had turned against her.
‘I thought you’d stay by me at least.’ Ashleigh was bewildered.
‘I would’ve done, but you go and smash this family. You took Uncle Roger from all of us. You could have taken two of my brothers, one of our cousins and an Uncle away and a father and a brother away from Kate, so why would I support you for breaking this family?’ I knew what I was talking about.
‘Amelia!’ Ashleigh snarled.
‘I’ve got one thing to say to you, Mum. GET OUT!’ I growled.
Ashleigh looked right at me and then she ran out towards the South entrance, ready to live a new life somewhere else.
‘Amy?’ Mark walked towards me.
I moved away and then felt an urge to leave the room. I then ran towards the South entrance. I wanted my four missing family members back. Corridor after corridor and there was still no sign of Jacob or John or Cameron or Isaac.
‘I hope this still works. JOHN THOMAS!’ I yelled into the silence.
Nothing came back. I felt the poison come back, stronger than ever. I then screamed out in pain. I fell to my knees and then I screamed out again.
‘JOHN THOMAS! JACOB THOMAS! CAMERON THOMAS! ISAAC THOMAS!’ I screamed.
Nothing came back and I just felt beaten. Then I heard a piece of hope. Feet ran towards me. My heart was thumping louder and quicker, as if it was about to give way. Then the best thing to me on that day happened.
John, Jacob, Cameron and Isaac ran towards me. John and Jacob got to me first.
‘Amy, what’s going on?’ John helped me up.
‘The poison…has come back!’ I was struggling now.
‘Jacob, help me get her back. Cameron, Isaac, run ahead to the rest of the family and tell them to get ready for Amy. The poison’s trying again.’ John supported one of my shoulders before he swung me up into his arms, hoping I wouldn’t fall asleep.
Cameron and Isaac nodded and ran ahead. I struggled to speak a little.
‘What…happened to…you guys?’ I struggled.
‘The Falling Stars knocked us all unconscious and we found ourselves down a corridor and then we heard your screaming and ran to you as quickly as we could.’ Jacob laughed.
‘That…sounded better…than…what happened…to me.’ I sighed deeply.
‘Amy, did you fight some by yourself or something?’ Jacob sighed, raising an eyebrow.
‘You should ask Dad. He knows better than I do.’ I used my energy to say what I needed to.
John and Jacob walked in, helping me into the main room as John had put me down. They both got me upstairs and then I was laid down in my bed. My eyes had to fight to stay open. John stayed by my side and looked me in the eyes.
‘You’ll be fine. You just need to fight back and stay strong. Just trust me, please.’ John held onto my right hand.
‘I’ll try. I can do that much.’ I smiled weakly.
‘Will you be alright if I get you a drink?’ John sighed, still worrying about me like he used to.
Neither of us knew what he’d find out.