Halo: The Unchained

Going to summer camp was just about the worst decision Ryan Winters had ever made. Spending three months around a bunch of idiots who thought "tru dat" was correct grammar was certainly not his idea of a good time. But, according to his adoptive mother, he wasn't good enough at pretending to not be a mutant. So, there he was, trying to spend more time with the human persons so he could learn how to be a human person. There was only one problem:

Jared Hall.

*Read full summary inside*

**This story is currently undergoing some editing, all unedited chapters have been unpublished :)**

***This is a Seven Realms Novel. For More Seven Realms fun, please read The Forest of Eyes and Shadows and The Marked Series***

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10. Halo: Episode VIII (Return of the She-Devil)

Halo: Episode VIII
(Return of the She-Devil)

And that was that.  They called the police.  Over something as stupid as a little necklace.  I don’t even wear jewelry!  And my stupid birth-giver wouldn’t ever spend the money on something as decadent as that.  Not if it was for me- or anyone other than herself. I don’t even think my brother got anything like that—and he, as the perfect non-mutant little angel, pretty much got the sun, moon, and stars.

They had ended the hike when they called the police and ushered us all back to the campsite.  The police wanted us all in one place, so they told us to go hang out in the cabins until they came to fetch us.  And that’s what we did.  We all sat in various cabins, waiting for the police to arrive.  On the bright side, no more hike.

On the downside, I was going to see my biological family for the first time in seven years.

Not even I, with all my powers of bullshitting, could find a way out of that one.

I sat in the corner, not talking to anyone or looking at anything. I had every reason to be upset. My life had taken a turn for the worst, and honestly, it felt like I was slapping Sheila in the face. She had risked a lot to save me from my birth mother. The other children she saved didn’t have nearly as many problems keeping their identities secret as I did. Granted, none of the others were famous, but still…

Josh came over and sat next to me. I raised an eyebrow at him.  “Careful, there.  If you sit with me too long, my nerdiness might rub off on you. You wouldn’t want your goons to think you’re a nerd like me.”

“This isn’t the time for jokes, Dude,” Josh said in a serious tone.  Wow.  Jock boy could be serious.  Who knew?  “Are you going to be ok?”  He whispered. I was so surprised by his question that I started to tune out all the excited whispers around us. It was like the world faded away—like the old days. I had never thought Josh had the ability to think about other people.

I sighed and shrugged, looking away.  “I’m trying really hard not to think about it.  If I’m really convincing, maybe they’ll look right over me.  Even though I have her eyes.  And nose.  And face.”  I sighed again and ran my fingers through my hair.  “This is the fucking worst,” I grumbled. Not how I wanted summer to turn out.

“Well, you should have been more careful, man.  A locket like that isn’t something to just leave hanging around in the woods.  What were you expecting to happen?”

I scowled.  “You really think I’m that stupid?  It’s not mine.  I’ve never seen that thing before in my life.  My mother would never spend that kind of money on me.  I don’t know where it’s from, or how it got there.” I groaned in frustration. “It’s like someone is conspiring against me.”

Josh’s eyes were wide.  “Damn, dude.  That’s some serious shit.”  He settled down next to me.  It had been a long time since the two of us had really talked.  Shame that the first time we had a real heart to heart since our falling out had to be about my runaway mutant-freak existence.  “If it’s not yours, where the hell did it come from?”

I rolled my eyes a little at his first statement. "You really have a way with words, don't you?" Though, as much as I hated to admit it, he had a point. If it wasn't mine, then how did it get in the mountains? someone had to know who I was, but I just couldn't think about that option. I took a sharp breath in and sighed. “I don’t know.  I have absolutely no idea how it could have gotten all the way out here.  As far as I know, my birth-givers have been far away from me this whole time.  I never go anywhere they might be.  So, to find something like that at a campsite…”  I shook my head.  “It doesn’t make sense.”  It made my head hurt just thinking about it.

Josh leaned back, looking up at the ceiling.  He shook his head.  “How are you going to get out of this?  Think they will figure it out?”

“I don’t really want to think about that. Especially when the she-devil might be on her way over here with her carriage of death as we speak.”  Just as those words left my mouth, the cabin door swung open.  It was the camp counselors, and they did not look happy.  Perfect.

“The police want to see everyone in the camp.  Right now,” They said in their commanding voices, ushering all of us out.  I hung at the back of the pack.  Have you ever felt your heart beat so fast, it felt like it was going to drill out of your ribcage with a jackhammer?  Yeah, that was the feeling I had.  Amazing feeling. 0/10 would not recommend.

Everyone at the camp was forced to stand in a line.  There were about fifty of us all together.  Which was about half of the junior class squashed in one place.  The camp was completely silent as we stood there, waiting to be addressed.  A man stepped forward. 

He was tall and scraggly looking, but very put together— almost too put together, like he was trying way too hard to impress people.  His hair was all slicked back, and there wasn’t a single fold out of place in his uniform.  He had sharp eyes that scanned the crowd, trying to strike fear into the hearts of everyone there.  (A little extra, if you ask me—but hey, I hear FBI agents can be like that.)

He put his hands behind his back, standing in a powerful stance, and addressed all of us with a booming voice.  “Attention campers.  I am Agent Steven Olkwood, the head of the Jared Hall investigation.  After careful inspection of the artifact recovered, we have concluded that it does, in fact, belong to Jared Hall.”

I made a little face to myself.  What the hell?  How could they tell that?  Plus, it wasn’t mine, so they were wrong anyway!  I had to be even more careful.  FML!

Regardless of my inner monolog, that Steve guy just kept speaking.  “Mrs. Hall has requested that we conduct individual, informal interrogations.  She and I will be taking each of you back one by one to speak with you regarding the incidents that took place this afternoon.”  That was when she arrived.

Breathe.

She was wearing a black dress— almost as dark as her soul— that framed her body as she walked forward.  Her heels were blood red— which was completely impractical for the forest if you ask me— and her hair was twisted back into a loose bun.  She looked like she hadn’t aged a day in ten years, but that was probably just all the makeup she was wearing.  She smiled at the crowd, and I wanted to vomit. 

Breathe. Breathe, breathe!! Come on, lungs, don’t fail me now!! Who turned off the air?!

“Good afternoon, Children.  Please, call me Natasha.”

 

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