The Discord Trilogy

 
 

Coralia Severin

This takes place in chapter nine of The Golden Apple of Discord - Coralia of the Milunfran Vampires

 

Aggie and Ruben are in the backseat of a sleek, sexy Audi. Alex is in the driver’s seat, waiting for me while I lift the slashed tire, jack, and wrench into the trunk.


We all won't fit into one car so Ann and Thomas wait with Tara in the Yukon for me to finish changing the tire I slashed on the hot guy's car. The glare she’s shooting toward Alex’s backseat would crush the sporty car if she were channeling my telekinesis.


I give her the thumbs-up, and she flips me off. With Tara’s temper out in full force, I’ll have to thank Ann later. She took one for the team today. If Thomas knows what’s good for him, he’ll sit back and shut up. Maybe Tara will only sniff him and move on.


Supple leather wraps around me as the car door to the Audi closes. The passenger’s seat fits like a glove, and a quick look around tells me the guy cleaning this car must be obsessive-compulsive. There’s not a single French fry or bloodstain in sight.


The freshly changed tire is put to the test when Alex lurches into freeway traffic. Aggie is a chatterbox, asking Ruben about his job. He has a bad-blind-date cringe on his face like Tara does when I bring home another boy-toy.


Alex himself isn’t bad-looking, but there’s a good chance he’s the OCD car freak. Speaking of which…


“Isn’t this car kind of impractical? I mean, you can fit, like, two bodies in the trunk, tops. Unless you’re eating Asians; then you can fit three.”


Alex’s eyes don’t leave the road. “Not that you would know about hiding bodies. You leave them all over town like a calling card.”


“I know, right? I wanted to get T-shirts made up for them saying something like ‘Lucky Charms—A vampire thought this molester was magically delicious.’ Tara said we didn’t have the money.”


Ruben chokes out from the backseat, “T-shirts!”


“I almost made one for myself that said ‘Carpe diem. Today, I killed a child pornographer. What will you do tomorrow?’ I got the idea when we killed this rapist that owned a T-shirt shop. I wanted to make a few before we left but didn’t want to steal from the dead guy’s family.”


Alex replies, “You don’t steal. You kill humans, but you don’t steal.”


“Not from innocent people,” I reply. “His family needs something to live on. Aggie doesn’t single people out based on life insurance policies… Very few people have Old Glory Vampire Insurance, because the undead are coming for you.”


Alex’s head snaps away from the road. His mouth silently opens and closes a couple of times.


Aggie adds, “Think of it as a public service. Do you know how many human traffickers there are in Toronto alone?”


Ruben cringes and Alex nods, turning his attention back to the road, shifting gears, and looking sexy doing it. His whole body screams hot date. Maybe I could scoot a little closer and graze his arm. Instantly, he discreetly pulls his arm closer to his side. Tara called him a telepath; he’s probably listening to me. I would if I were him.


Alex’s voice speaks in my mind without his lips moving. “Yes, Cora.”


“Dude, turn it off! You don’t need to be in my head.”


“It doesn’t work that way. It’s always on and vast as Tara’s range.”


“Can you hear more than one at a time? Hey, wait a minute. How do you know what Tara’s range is?”


“Aggie told me, and yes, I can hear everyone in my range.”


“I think that’d get irritating real fast. Hey, Alex, wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?”
The worst screech I can remember echoes in my head. Jim Carrey in the movie Dumb and Dumber would be proud.


Alex tightens his grip on the wheel. “Cora, please stop.”


My laughter pauses all conversation in the car. “Sure. Dude, that mind-reading trick has to suck. Aggie says the future in her head isn’t great either.”


Aggie replies, “True story. See, Alex?”


She must be thinking about something to show Alex. After a couple of minutes, the awkward silence isn’t going anywhere, so I press the power button on the music console.


Ruben jerks. “No, wait!”


Noise blasts through the car at a horrendous volume, but what’s worse is the song that’s playing.


Twisting dials and pressing buttons does nothing for the noise. Alex knocks my hands out of the way, tears out the console, and throws it back toward Ruben, plunging the car into silence.


The road noise is broken only by everyone breathing and staring at the bare wires protruding from the gaping hole in the dashboard.


Aggie laughs. “NSYNC? Really?”


Ruben cringes. “It was supposed to be a prank on Thomas. I had it rigged so you couldn’t turn it off once it turned on. Alex knew not to touch it.”


Aggie asks, “What did he do to deserve that?”


“I was working a job at a demolition site. Thomas had flowers delivered thanking me for an awesome night and asking for his boxer briefs back!”


“That is epic!” I say between laughs. “One time in college this jock spread a rumor that he slept with me. That was the last time the student body thought he got any. He was on the football team, so I snuck into the locker room and messed with his gear, then convinced a player from the other team to yank his pants down on the field. Let’s just say the ladies saw the lack of goods, and he still couldn’t get laid last time I checked.”


Ruben laughs and Alex cringes. The image in my head is the sports field, naked guy and all.


“Wait, so you can see pictures in my mind? I thought a telepath would just be able to hear, not see.”


Alex is silent.


Aggie says, “Alex, both you and Tara will get your answers when you realize we’re not your enemy. When you see Tara at the cabin, tell her to stay out of your head.”


Clearly he’s waging some mental battle, and I wonder if Aggie is showing him something she’s seen. After a few seconds his rigid posture relaxes a bit.


“Cora, to answer your question, thoughts are a mixture of internal monologue, pictures, memories, and imagination. I can see all of these, but they don’t overtake my sight the way Aggie’s sudden visions do.”


“But you can also speak inside my head. I heard it.”


Alex relaxes a bit more and glances toward me. “I can place in your mind anything I receive from my ability.”


He can put pictures in my mind just like he did his voice. Does that mean he can show me other people’s thoughts?

“Yes, Cora. It does.”


Wow, he’s good-looking and capable. My shirt has to have some buttons I can undo.


Wait, he just heard me think that.


“Yes, Cora. I did.”


Well, this is going to be all sorts of embarrassing if I let it. The best defense is a good offense.


“I still think you’re cute.


Ruben asks, “What? What did Cora think?”



Alex shoots a glare at Aggie and exhales sharply. Aggie says, “Hey, it’s your future, I’m just seeing it. If you wanna glare at something, Cora will show you how her telekinesis works.”


Really, I will? While bouncing in my seat, I rub my hands together mad-scientist style. This time Tara isn’t here to stop me.


Ruben looks at Alex but doesn’t say a word. I’m onto their game now. “Hey, Alex, what is Ruben thinking at you?”


Alex merges onto another, more remote freeway, headed toward our cabin. “It doesn’t concern you, and understand this. There’s no way we can live together peacefully if I announce the private thoughts of anyone.”


Live together?


“Alex, I know we’ve been dating for about one minute, but don’t you think you’re moving kind of fast?”


Alex actually chokes.


I turn around and high-five Aggie.


Alex says, “Aggie has seen you and your sisters in my home temporarily, and all of us successfully staying hidden from the Noricum.”


I hope the sexy Audi is an indicator of their house. I don’t think I can share a one-room cabin with three dudes and my sisters.


Alex says, “Aggie, can you please focus on the future you just showed me. I wish to relay it to Cora. It seems she has questions about our…circumstances.”


I should be offended. He said what I was thinking out loud, but to see Aggie’s thoughts is worth it.


Suddenly a huge web of golden threads stretching out from a bright light appears in my mind. The threads look like crooked warps on a Navajo loom with the bright light at the bottom, anchoring the threads. Pulses of light move along the strings, changing their direction with each pulse. Then, zooming into one particular thread, a house appears that is the opposite of a one-room cabin.


They live in a palace.


A sexy car is just one of the things this telepath has going for him.


Their house has a swimming pool, landscaped yard, and fairytale brick driveway. There’s even a fish tank in a ginormous living room.


The picture fades from my mind. “That is super cool.”


A driver zooms up behind us, doing well over the speed limit that we broke long ago. It whips around, passing us in the oncoming lane. For a second the thought of breaking off one of their tires is appealing, but I would never hear the end of it from Tara. If they were a proven scumbag, it’d be a different outcome and I’d be getting a snack on the way to the cabin.


I flip them off instead.


Alex slaps his hand to his forehead before shifting his attention back to the road. The awkward pause returns full force, but this time there’s no music to break the silence. After a kilometer of dark highway, Ruben leans forward.


“So you’re telekinetic? That probably comes in handy more often than not. How does it work?”


Looks like I get to play after all.


“Okay, look ahead.  See that car that passed us? See the exit ramp they’re getting off on?”


“Yeah.”


“See the exit sign?”


“Yeah.”


“Well, I can feel the weight of it and the weight of everything around us.”

Aggie cuts in. “Everything with mass.”


“Right,” I reply. “The weight of everything around us wants to move; I just help it.”


Aggie interrupts again, “It has mass and therefore potential energy. Cora flips that potential energy into kinetic energy.”


“If you say so, Aggie,” I reply. “She’s making it sound more complex than it really is. To me, everything wants to move. I just use the energy in my mind to connect with the object and boom, instant movement. Watch.”


With a flick of my wrist, the freeway sign pulls itself up from its cement base. I hold the sign mid-air until we pass it, and then I toss it into the top of a large tree.


Ruben’s mouth hangs open. Alex grips the steering wheel. Alex asks, “How is it you’ve remained undetected by the authorities when you so flagrantly display your telekinetic abilities for no reason whatsoever?”


I answer, “Sheer awesomeness?”


Alex just rolls his eyes.


I say, “It’s not necessary to use my hands to direct it, but I have better aim that way. I’ve been working on it for months at the cabin with full-grown trees. When we get there you’ll see what I’m talking about.”


Alex snips, “We will not go anywhere near your cabin. The walls have eyes. Even the trees around here are dangerous.”


Yeah, that doesn’t sound paranoid. I start humming the Twilight Zone music inside my head.


Ruben turns a bit towards Aggie. “You can see the future? I always thought we wrote our own futures, but if you can see it, is everything just fate?”


She smiles. “I can see people’s futures, but only until a specific point. The more an event is preset, the further out I can see it. But futures change depending on the actions of the present. The future can change because of actions but not until then. Does that make sense?”


Ruben shifts a little. “Not really.”


Before he’s even done answering, Aggie says, “Cora, there’s a maintenance log in the glove box and a pen in the center console. Pass me both of them.”


I pop open the glove box and, sure enough, there’s a spiral-bound pocket-sized notebook. The center console has a really nice pen I think I’ll borrow when Aggie is done with it.


Alex says, “You don’t steal, Cora.”


“Borrow, I thought I’d borrow it!”


Aggie starts drawing on paper what Alex showed me.


“Length is time. But if the person in this thread does a different action and pushes the direction of their future to interact with another thread, then that thread interacts with another thread. Actions change the direction of the future. I look for patterns with people I know, and for people we’re gonna eat, I look for a future where they’re abusing innocent humans.”


Ruben says, “They can’t be guilty if they haven’t done the crime yet.”


“When I see a woman cowering in the corner when her guy comes home in a ‘mood,’ I can promise it’s a repeat performance. If not, how would she know to cower? When I see children in front of cameras and forced to undress, there’s not a whole lot of doubt the pornographers have done this before. Show me a first-time pedophile and I’ll show you a person who has never been caught. There are lots of mechanisms in the human brain one has to overcome in order to harm their own species. The first time, they normally freak out. I look for visions where the rapist picks the lock efficiently, where the child cringes around the molester. I look for evidence that shows this isn’t their first rodeo abusing another human.”


Wow, even I didn’t know she put that much effort into it. Killing creeps just got way better.


Alex asks, “What about offenders who will change if given the opportunity?”


”Not our problem,” I reply. “Those are the benefits of a civilized society that they forfeited when they themselves were not civilized.”


He replies, “What about due process?”


I say, “They were due to be processed.”


“Who are you to be judge, jury, and executioner?”


“There will always be someone willing to judge and execute. If they wanted a jury in the equation, they should’ve turned themselves in. Fiat justitia, ruat caelum.”


He says, “Do justice though the heavens fall.”


This guy just got even sexier. “You know Latin?”


He shakes his head like an old lady not liking how much of my cleavage she can see. “That’s hardly the point. The heavens may be falling and you wouldn’t know until it’s too late.”


Aggie clears her throat. “Ahem.”


Alex glances at her and lets half of a smile escape the corner of his mouth before he gets his glare back on. “You may have some warning time before the heavens fall.”


Alex downshifts and takes a corner way faster than I can in the Yukon. I miss driving Tara’s Jetta. I wonder if he’d let me drive the rest of the way. I mean, it’s not like he knows where the cabin is.


“No, Cora. You will never drive my car.”


“Of course, Mr. I-never-tell-other-people’s-thoughts.”


Aggie laughs but then covers her mouth. It doesn’t matter, though; her shoulders are still shaking from it. I should just slash another tire on his precious car. I know Tara is behind us and will catch up eventually. Although, judging by the look on her face when we drove away, she would run over the sexy Audi sooner than she would stop to help. Not only that, but it would also make it harder to get to the nice mansion. I wonder where Tara is.


Alex’s voice pierces my mind again. “She has left my range, so she is at least five miles behind us.”


Miles, how very American. I glance at the speedometer but cringe. We haven’t covered unit conversion yet in algebra.


“Eight kilometers is roughly five miles. No one needs to know how bad at math you are.”
He speaks into my mind again.


I laugh out loud before I can help it. “You think Aggie doesn’t know how bad at math I am? When I pay the tab at a restaurant, I write the letters M A T H in the tip line, and then write whatever the total should be below.”


Ruben rubs his temples. “What are you talking about? It’s exhausting trying to keep up with you. You know that?”


Alex says, “If you knew how many things she thinks about doing but decides against, you’d give her some credit.”


There have never been truer words spoken.


Alex swerves around some roadkill; he really is the guy who rubs his car with a diaper.


Aggie taps me on the shoulder. “Tara will get to the cabin about twenty-two minutes after we do. When we get there, we need to pack as fast as we can. I want to be ready to go when she gets there.”


Ruben laughs under his breath. “About twenty-two? That’s kind of broad. Can you narrow it down some?”


I flip down the visor and open the vanity mirror to look at her without craning my neck. “Why?”


“Because Tara and Alex are going to quibble for a while and she won’t want to go with him. Also, it will be mostly her fault.”


Ruben says, “Wait, just like that you take Alex’s side?”


Aggie replies, “It’s not about who is on what side. It’s about what side is right.”


Alex exhales but remains silent. Perhaps Tara knows something we don’t, but honestly, liking Alex is easy. Be that as it may, Tara looks out for us pretty well, and as such, I’ll hear what she has to say before I cast my vote.


-X-


It doesn’t take long to get to the cabin, not with how fast Alex drives. After sitting in that luxurious leather seat for so long, I don’t even want to go into the cabin, much less pack up all my crap. It’s dark and dank, and that one lightbulb just doesn’t cut it anymore.


Packing isn’t a big chore. We keep everything pretty tidy. Well, Aggie keeps everything pretty tidy. I don’t care if I live out of laundry baskets, and after washing my clothes on a rock in a frozen lake for months, does folding them really make that big of a difference?


Tara arrives and wastes no time trading barbs with Alex. That’s my cue to hurry up and close the last suitcase. If nothing else, it’s gonna be entertaining watching Alex deal with Tara when he can’t hear her thoughts. Squishy footsteps in the mud approach. Tara stomps through the trees with Ann trailing behind.


“Aggie,” my oldest sister hisses.


Aggie picks up the last of the suitcases and walks out of Daddy’s cabin. “Don’t be mad.”


I turn the light and generator off, then shut the door.


“Why would I be mad, Aggie? I find out from Captain Arrogant we’re going to a strange man’s house, and all I get from you are vague don’t-worry-about-it answers. So tell me, Aggie, why would I be mad?”


Aggie just carries two suitcases right past her, ignoring her condescending tone. “You said we needed answers. This is a way to get them from someone who doesn’t want to kill us. If you have a better suggestion, I’m all ears. These guys can give us answers, more than the Noricum could or ever would. I’m giving you what you asked for.”


Finally, Tara looks sheepish. “So...err...why are we going to their house? They can tell us here.”


Luckily, Alex gave me a plausible answer that will appease Tara. “Yeah, Alex said the walls have eyes and he wouldn’t come near the house. He was even nervous being around the trees.”


Tara now follows Aggie, trying to keep up. I look at Ann and point to Tara, rolling my eyes. She’s always been so overprotective. There’s no reason to freak out like she is; if they become a threat… Well, let’s just say the Noricum had better odds.


Tara asks, “We couldn’t do this at a Starbucks or something? Where is their house and why are we moving there?”


Aggie answers before I can. “Three words, ladies. Hot. Running. Water.”


I can almost feel the detachable showerhead.


-X-

 

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