The Victim's Revenge
Chapter 9 Part 2
Happy Friday, fantasy readers! Here’s Chapter 9 Part 2 of Saving ForeverLand.
If you didn’t get a chance to read the previous chapters, remember to check those out. I’ve included the links below:
The tears started falling like a torrential downpour. No. Hadoo told himself firmly. Don’t go back there. That world is gone. You know you’re never going to go back, and even if you did, they wouldn’t be the same. Fifty years had gone by since that day, and although Hadoo didn’t age as a bender, his parents would likely be gone by now, and Ellen fully grown. He shook his head frantically, hands holding it together as if his skull would break open from all the memories. “Agggggh!” He stopped shaking, but there was still so much hatred. He slammed his hands down on the table, rattling the cereal bowl in front of him, spilling a couple of drops of milk.
No one should have to go through what I did. He nodded his head sharply, convincing himself that his current actions are warranted, that he was acting in the best interest of humanity. “The only way to save them is to destroy them,” he said aloud, speaking his truth to the empty room.
Returning to the present, Hadoo peered outside the window facing the Gladerin North Sea. He reached out to unclasp the lock and opened the window, letting in a refreshing sea breeze. He breathed in deeply, enjoying his temporary home. Even though Gladerin was one of Hadoo’s favorite hideouts, he often traveled to other worlds - worlds where magic was more prevalent - and he didn’t resent them like he did ForeverLand. Those places, though still filled with strange magic, weren’t harming people. For instance, in Fantor, the land of the telekinetics, people were born and raised there - they didn’t know any other life. Fantor was their home and no one was taken to or from the world without their consent. That’s the humane way of living, he thought, enviously.
He asked himself the same questions that always plagued him when he considered his past: Why couldn’t Elozar and all those benders just stay with their own kind? Why did they need to take children who were perfectly normal away from their homes, and their families, and turn them into magical freaks? Though he knew that he wouldn’t get the answers he wanted, the rage boiled within Hadoo again - he had to control it. Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath and counted to three, then let it out. Then he repeated counting to four, then five, then six, before he finally felt his temper simmer down. Use your tools, he told himself. Save your anger for the benders. He couldn’t lose control now. No, he needed to keep himself sharp, cool and collected, to ensure that he succeeded in his mission. There was no time for silly mistakes. All those years ago, he managed to create the black hole that swallowed Marjo, but of course, at the time he didn’t know what he was doing. Young, naive, and scared, he didn’t understand the extent of his abilities, but today was different. Hadoo’s one and only goal for the past fifty years was to harness his powers and fight back against the system that destroyed his life. Feeling confident that when the time came, he could produce what was needed to destroy ForeverLand, Hadoo felt his pounding heart speed up in anticipation. He quickly made his way back to the table, and although he was sitting again, his legs were bouncing up and down.
But then he paused. Taking the last spoonful of his bran flakes and milk, Hadoo had to wonder why he didn’t just stay here in Gladerin. Why not make a life here? I could just forget the benders and start over. But then his eyes turned dark as if he were possessed. His heart was beating like a bass drum once again as his determination grew. No, he thought. The victim deserves his revenge.
I need to make sure everything is running smoothly. Deciding that it was time to check in with the freaks, he turned toward the window and waved his arms in the pattern that he knew would form a half-portal. The swirling light took the place of his home’s window, letting him observe and fully appreciate the destruction he had already caused in ForeverLand. A conspiratorial smile spread across his face as he watched the mass of benders struggling against their chains back in the Edge of ForeverLand. “There’s no way they’re getting out of there anytime soon. And even when someone does finally come across them, Elozar will know that I found a way in.” Hadoo announced to the empty room. Now that he found a way through their forces on the Edge, he was one step closer to destroying those abominations. Swiping his hand quickly over the window to ForeverLand, Hadoo closed the half-portal. There was no need to keep watching. “And Elozar - that monster who did nothing to help me all those years ago - you’re the first to go,” Hadoo swore. Everything is falling into place.
Now it was time to wait for the right moment to make his next move. But then he heard the scrape against the side of his cottage. What’s that? “Who’s there?!” he called out.
Sarah was tossed from the portal forcefully and flopped like a fish out of water on the beach several times before she was able to stabilize herself and stand up. Where am I? She looked around her and although she knew she wasn’t in Leisata or ForeverLand, she couldn’t for the life of her figure out her surprise destination. Straight ahead, there was the ocean - which ocean she couldn’t say. She brushed the sand off her jeans and repositioned the bottom of her t-shirt which had scrunched up when she shot out of the portal. Her sneakers were sinking in the sand as she remained rooted to her spot, still trying to determine where she could have gone. I didn’t have a destination in mind when I left The Edge, so where would the portal have taken me? I guess whoever created it had a set destination…
Sarah squinted her eyes against the sun, searching for a sign of civilization on the seemingly barren land when she finally noticed a cottage in the distance. It was far enough away that she couldn’t see the details or really make out its relative size, but all the same, it was the only thing that seemed to be out there. Deciding that she had to start somewhere, she set off walking through the sand, just along the water’s edge, determined to reach the mysterious dwelling. With every step she took, Sarah grew more aware of her environment. She smelled the sea breeze, felt a subtle wind blow against her skin along with the heat of the two suns in the sky. She tried to listen for any sign of life around her, but could only hear the small waves lapping against the shore, soaking her socks and sneakers. For some reason, Sarah was drawn to this body of water - she didn’t understand why, but she somehow instinctively knew that staying close to the sea would lead her where she needed to go. “But where do I need to go?”
Picking up the pace, Sarah watched as the cottage’s details became more discernible. There were the light wooden side panels, the distinctly darker roof that sloped slightly to the right, as if it lost its balance ages ago, and the red door. She noticed four sets of windows - one on each side of the cottage - but they were all covered with curtains. With each step, she grew more curious about what lay inside the only home in a world that seemed to be made up of 90% water.
Sarah heard the yell and froze. It definitely came from the cottage. Was someone hurt? Is someone in trouble? Always anxious about danger, especially now that she’s completely consumed by the threat against ForeverLand, Sarah considered trying to portal out of there - wherever she was. Gnawing on her thumbnail, a habit she thought she was rid of by now, she tried to figure out her options.
I can run - escape back to ForeverLand. That’s probably the safest option…
Bang! Again, the jarring noise came from the cottage. I went through that portal for a reason, Sarah told herself. There’s no turning back now.
Determined to get one step closer to stopping Hadoo, Sarah jogged lightly to the side of the cottage and then crept along the edge until she was just under one of the windows. She kept her head down, hoping that whatever was inside wouldn’t notice her - at least not yet - and she strained to hear any other sign of what was behind the wall. She waited patiently trying to stay quiet herself, until the deep voice boomed from inside the cottage, nearly causing Sarah to jump. “The only way to save them is to destroy them.” Then she heard the pop of the window clasp just inches from her face. Sarah ducked down lower as she watched a gloved hand pull the window up. Sarah held her breath as she watched a bald man stick his head out the open window, praying he wouldn’t look down and notice her. The man took in a deep breath and smiled. Sarah was tempted to say hello, but then she remembered she was trespassing on his property and spying - probably not the best way to introduce myself. She looked around to make sure no one was watching her on the beach, and then by the time her gaze returned to the window, the man was gone.
Sarah waited a few minutes before growing impatient, but she restrained herself from leaving her post when a swirl of light appeared in the place of the open window. It was like watching a movie. She stayed crouched down, but stepped back to get a better look at the scene before her.
Wait, is that…? She started to ask herself, but as soon as she saw the picture come into focus, she knew that it was The Edge of ForeverLand.
They’re trapped! Watching Josh and the other benders struggle against the glowing chains that held them in place, Sarah started to panic. What have I done? I shouldn’t have left them there! Why is this man watching ForeverLand?
Then everything clicked. Hadoo, the dual bender who was out to destroy ForeverLand, was right there - just a few feet away from Sarah. Stuck in her head, she didn’t notice that the window to ForeverLand had disappeared. She snapped back to the present when she caught Hadoo’s next words. “Elozar - that monster who did nothing to help me all those years ago - you’re the first to go.”
She couldn’t help it - Sarah was so shocked by Hadoo’s words that she lost her footing. Scraping her arm against the side of the house, she knew right away that the noise would be enough to alert Hadoo of her presence. “Who’s there!?”
Going with her first instinct, Sarah focused on ForeverLand. She focused on ForeverLand and finding Elozar. Within seconds, the portal appeared on the side of the cottage, but not before she heard Hadoo’s pounding footsteps coming closer. Then she watched him stick his head out the window and they locked eyes. Not a moment to spare, Sarah jumped through the portal before Hadoo could stop her. The last thing she saw was another flash of light coming towards her portal, but luckily her portal closed as soon as she was through, and the flash of light didn’t make it through.
The Great Substack Story Challenge is underway! The link below takes you to the table of contents, which lists all the newsletters/writers participating in the challenge.