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FIC: X-Book 1 New Allies New Enemies, PG-13, Chpt 9

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  • Kathleen
    X-Book 1: New Allies New Enemies - Chapter 9 - Last Trip to Town Rating: PG-13 By: Kath713/Leen713 Summary: (See Book 1: Prologue) Disclaimer: I own nothing
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 2, 2004
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      X-Book 1: New Allies New Enemies - Chapter 9 - Last Trip to Town

      Rating: PG-13

      By: Kath713/Leen713

      Summary: (See Book 1: Prologue)

      Disclaimer: I own nothing associated with characters from the Marvel
      universe or any previously published work.

      ***


      Chapter Nine:

      Mary Sloane drove into town early the next morning, wanting to
      complete all of her errands of the day so that the afternoon could
      be solely for her guests.

      All morning her grandmother had been fussing about the house,
      cleaning and re-cleaning, cooking and baking, and preparing for the
      day. They had visitors so rarely, and Mary was glad to see her
      aging Nana slightly energized by her hosting duties. She had a
      whole list ready for Mary when she woke, and had pestered her the
      whole way out the door about coming back on time. Mary just smiled
      with amusement (although very subtle and respectful amusement), and
      promised again and again not to be late.

      The road into town was empty as she drove, and she did not meet
      another car until she crossed onto Main Street. The air was dry and
      dusty, every building seemed to be covered by a fine layer of soil.
      The shops and homes were old, many looking sorely in need of
      renovation. The few people who walked along past looked tired and
      worn, though most gave Mary a friendly wave a she drove by.

      A decade ago, it had been a small, but thriving community, but over
      the years since then, the town just seemed to be drifting to sleep.
      There had been no major change to the area, no big railway or
      factory that closed. The people just seemed to be fading, moving
      onto somewhere else. Most of the younger families had moved away,
      and the older residents just seemed to be waiting out time until
      they passed away.

      Though no one ever spoke of it, it had dawned on Mary about a year
      before that she was the youngest resident of this valley. The
      school which she had attended her whole life had closed shortly
      after she graduated, so any family with children had chosen to
      leave. Most of her friends had gone off to college or moved to the
      city, finding no possibility of a future here. She had written to
      them for a while, but even those ties had grown cold.

      Mary pulled up to one curb next to a small general store. As she
      entered, the man behind the counter smiled up as her over his wire
      glasses.

      "Well, good morning, Mary," he said with a slight wheeze,
      "What
      brings you down so early?"

      "Hi, Mr. Duchak," she said, "Just getting some things for
      my grandmother…"

      "Just like always..." another voice chimed in. An old woman
      was hobbling her way carefully up the last aisle, chuckling loudly
      as she approached. She was grasping a basket by one hand, steadying
      herself with a cane in the other. Even though the basket was still
      relatively empty, it was obvious that she was struggling. Mary
      walked over to her and helped her maneuver the burden to the counter.

      "Oh, thank you, dear," she said, "Now, that's enough,
      I don't want to be a bother…"

      "It's no trouble, Mrs. Sauter."

      "Aw, you were always a good girl," the old woman replied,
      "Your Nana's pride..."

      "Besides her roses, you mean," Mary said with a grin, and the
      old woman cackled again.

      Mr. Duchak began ringing up Mrs. Sauter's purchases,
      "How's her hip been feelin', Mary?"

      "Not too bad," she replied as she shopped, "She's
      actually pretty
      active this morning."

      "Glad to hear," Duchak said, "Hate to think of Lily stuck
      inside all day."

      "You're absolutely right, Melvin," Mrs. Sauter said,
      stressing each word strongly, "Why your old nana was a
      firecracker in her youth..."

      "Never anyone more active in the church than your Nana,
      Mary," Duchak added.

      "And she still is," Mrs. Sauter corrected him, "Although
      that didn't keep her entirely out of trouble, did it? Ha. Did I
      ever tell you about the time…"

      Mary smiled as the pair talked on. She had heard the stories a
      thousand times but somehow they never got old. Listening to the
      people around her had always been important to her, watching the
      life twinkle in their eyes as they reminisced on better times and
      happier…


      Suddenly, Mary's hands began to shake. She had been gathering
      some cans of vegetables and they tumbled from her grasp. The world
      around her was getting dark, spinning away, and a cold panic filled
      her chest.

      The voices around her were muffled, but she could hear their concern
      growing.

      Not here, she thought desperately, Not now…oh, God, they'll
      see…they think it's all in the past…they'll see…

      But all those thoughts were overwhelmed as a vision ripped through
      her mind.

      (((())))

      Water…she saw water…


      Fire…there's fire…

      The earth…


      The air…



      All being torn apart…

      All spinning away…

      The center has fallen…

      The balance is gone…

      All the roses are dying…

      (((())))


      Mary gasped and sat up, looking suddenly into the eyes of not two,
      but three people.

      Mr. Duchak and Mrs. Sauter were hovering over her with fearful,
      worried expressions.

      The third person was Eddie Chalmers. If she was the youngest in
      town, he was the second youngest.

      Sheriff Chalmers, she thought as her mind was able to focus on the
      present again, He's the sheriff now…

      "…even though you used to try to steal my lunch money," Mary
      finished her thought in a hazy voice.

      Sheriff Edwin Chalmers smiled down at her with undisguised relief.
      Duchak had called him first when Mary collapsed. They would have
      never called an ambulance, considering the only hospital is over
      forty miles away.

      "Hey, kid," he said, "Old folks here said you took a
      spill. I guess they didn't lie."

      Mrs. Sauter smacked the Sheriff comically on the head.

      "Edwin Chalmers!" she said flabbergasted, "Well, I never!
      To say we would fib about something like that."

      Eddie rubbed the back of his head, with a grin. Mary laughed,
      jolted back into reality and, with Eddie's help, stood up slowly.

      Her mind was still reeling a little from the vision, but her hands
      and legs had stopped shaking.

      "I'm just kidding, Aunt Celie," he said, and seeing the
      woman's very unamused glare, "I'm sorry. How you
      feeling, Mary?"

      Mary shook her head, "I'm fine, I'm fine…just, felt a
      little faint, that's all."

      "That's not the first time. Do you want to sit a moment,
      dear?" Mrs. Sauter asked, still shooting angry glances at her
      nephew, "Those spells come on you so quickly…"

      "No, thank you…" she replied, and noticing the identical
      doubtful expressions on Eddie and Mrs. Sauter's faces, she
      smiled, "I'm fine…really…"

      "Ok," Eddie said finally, "We'll take your word for
      it. Everyone knows you don't lie, either."

      He smirked jokingly, as his aunt slapped him again on the upper arm.

      "Will you be ok to drive home?" Eddie asked, with genuine
      concern.

      Mary nodded, trying to keep the panic out of her face, "Yeah,
      I'll just take it slow."

      "Do you want me to call your grandmother?" he asked.

      "No, don't do that," Mary replied, a little quicker than
      she had intended. Eddie cast her another doubtful glance but nodded.

      "Ok," he said, and then forced a bright smiled onto his
      features. He turned to his aunt and lifted her grocery bags from the
      counter.

      "Well, if everything's under control here," he said,
      "How `bout you let a handsome law man walk you home, Lady
      Celie."

      "Oh, posh with the lady talk. And, what's this about you
      trying to steal Mary's lunch money…" she said, and the pair
      said their farewells before leaving.

      Mary sighed, and looked over at Mr. Duchak. The old man was
      regarding her with an intense frown.

      "I'm fine, Mr. Duchak," she said again, "Please
      don't make a big
      deal…"

      "What did you see?" he asked abruptly.

      Mary stared at him for a moment, unsure of how to answer.

      "What do you…" she began.

      "What did you see?" he repeated, a little more forcefully
      than before.

      Mary looked away from him, and began to gather the fallen cans of
      vegetables.

      "I don't know what you mean," she said quickly.

      When she turned back to him, Duchak was still frowning, his arms
      folded across his thin chest. The look on his face made her
      uncomfortable, as if he was accusing her of something.

      "I just felt a little faint," she said, trying to sound
      convincing, "That's all."

      The man kept silent, and rung up her purchases slowly. After
      several very awkward minutes, Mary sighed angrily.

      "Look, what do you want me to say?" she asked him, "Do
      you want me to tell you that I'm still having visions? Is that
      what
      you want? Why does it matter anyway, the elders never listen to
      anything I have to say…"

      "Only because you don't tell them everything," he finally
      said, without looking at her.

      "What else do they want to hear?" she asked, "They've
      known about my visions for years, and they never give me any reason
      or explanation of them. They won't tell me a thing about what
      happened in the desert ten years ago…"

      "Don't talk about that," Duchak said quickly, glancing up
      at her darkly.

      "See?" Mary said with growing agitation, "How am I
      supposed to understand this if no one will help me?"

      "No one can help you, child," he said.

      "What's that supposed to mean?" she asked, and grabbed
      her bags, "Oh, wait, you can't tell me that either."

      Mary paid for her groceries and turned around quickly.

      "What did you see, Mary?" Duchak asked one more time.

      Mary looked back, "I saw Eddie Chalmers get clocked by his old
      auntie…that's what I saw. Now, if you'll excuse me, I
      have to get
      home…"

      "Who's coming to visit you today?" the old man asked and
      Mary froze. Her grandmother said she did not tell anyone about the
      people from Xavier's school coming. No one else besides Mary
      knew…

      "How did you…" she asked, and then drew herself up, "It
      doesn't
      matter…"

      "You're not who you think…" Duchak said softly. Mary
      paused a moment, and then frowned without her earlier ire.

      "Who am I then?" she said, finally asking the question that
      had plagued her for her entire life.

      Duchak shook a cigarette out of a pack and lit it slowly. Mary
      suddenly thought the man's eyes looked more than aged, they
      looked haunted.

      In the brief interlude of their conversation, the soft roar of a
      passing jet filled the air. They both looked up, out at the sky and
      Duchak spoke one last time.

      "You need to find that out for yourself, child," he said,
      giving her a strained, but hopeful smile, "Now, off with
      you…I think your visitors are near."

      Mary stared with open confusion at the man for one more moment and
      then headed quickly out the door toward her jeep. Duchak walked
      slowly over to the front store window and watched her drive away.

      He glanced one more time up to the sky and sighed.

      And I hope, for your sake, you never find out, he thought, taking
      one long drag from his cigarette before crushing it under the tip of
      his shoe.
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