Where It All Went Wrong | 19

Wesley was just inside the door and raised an eyebrow as Lucy and Sullivan walked in. He saw the quick drop of Sully’s arm and resisted a wink as his gaze met Lucy’s.

He welcomed the duo before taking a seat at the table. They followed suit, along with Grace. Piper and Enzo shuffled papers, murmuring on the opposite side of the room. Noticing a silence fall, they got started.

“First step is infiltration.” Piper passed out a sheet of paper to the four around the table. “We will head in today, hopefully getting far enough to find out more about the chemical’s whereabouts.”

“I thought we knew where it was?” Lucy held the paper with both hands. She hadn’t read the entirety of her book, but she knew something was in there.

Enzo reached over the table, dropping a few other papers in the middle. Maps. “We do. You, well, future you told us.”

Lucy stared at a copy of the faded drawing. It outlined the WDS’ entire hideout. It was a simple system of tunnels and the one that leads to the chemical is basically a straight shot from her store.

“What we don’t know is how it is armed. When the hideout is discovered in the future, it’s only remains.” Wesley leaned back in his chair, tossing his paper back to the table. “We can only assume it’ll be pretty highly guarded.”

“As well as having technology we won’t know how to stop.” Piper sat down in the empty chair, leaving Enzo standing behind her. “That is why you will turn back once it starts to get deadly.”

The group nodded, but Lucy only furrowed her eyebrows together. “Shouldn’t we be prepared for just one fight? And during the night?”

“They expect us during the night.” Sullivan looked at her, leaning his elbows on the table. “Plus, the tunnels give us cover from civilians. They won’t even know what’s happening.”

“There will be ten women and men waiting outside for you in a half an hour. Get some food and get dressed. The tranquilizer guns are on the side of the house. Carry it in a bag or under a jacket, please.” Piper dragged her gaze to Wesley. “We don’t need another call to the police.”

Wesley laughed and stood up, saluting. “Got it, boss!”

“We’ve already eaten. We’ll get the gear ready.” Grace got up and pulled Wesley outside.

Piper turned to Sullivan. “Enzo and I are staying back to prepare for the final act. You are in charge,” her gaze shifted to Lucy and back, “so protect them.”

Sullivan gave one slow nod as the two shared silent words. Lucy figured they were about her and let her eyes wander, landing on Enzo. He gave her a knowing smile. She couldn’t stop the chills shooting down her spine.

The scrape of chairs brought Lucy’s attention back to the table. She was the only one sitting.

Piper smiled at her. “Good luck and be careful.” She walked out of the room without any other encouraging words.

Lucy needed more encouraging words.

“Do you need something to eat?” Sullivan was up and headed towards the small kitchen.

She stood up and followed. “Honestly? I think I’d puke it up.”

He grabbed a water bottle from the fridge. “Drink this at least.”

They sat in the kitchen in another long silence, but this time Lucy didn’t feel as awkward—that is, until she got outside.

“Wow, we don’t look suspicious or anything.” Lucy eyed the group of men and women all dressed in dark colors with bulky jackets and placid expressions.

“You’re right, newbie.” Grace grinned as she walked over to Wes. “But we’ve got that covered.” Wesley threw his arm around her shoulder and the two sauntered away with banter that could be heard for miles.

Everyone paired up and Lucy felt a heavy arm slide over her own shoulders. “Of course.” She rolled her eyes as Sullivan pulled her close.

The group drifted apart and let Lucy lead the way to her shop.

Inside was exactly how they had left it, plus a few layers of dust. While they waited for the others, Sullivan pulled the blinds. Lucy stared out the window watching.

Within twenty minutes, everyone had trickled in.

“All right.” Wes’ scowl flipped into a grin as he walked through the door. He slipped his gun out of his jacket. “Let’s get this thing going.”

Sullivan tugged on Lucy’s arm. Apparently, they were going first.

The group hovered in the far corner. The lights were off and with the blinds drawn, Lucy could barely tell where the door was.

Sullivan went down first and after hearing only subtle murmurs throughout the tunnel, he motioned the rest to follow.

Lucy looked down the stairs and then gestured Wes to go. He bumped her hip on the way down. She would have let most of the group go before her, too, but Grace gave her a look that rivaled her mother’s and down she went.

They stayed close to the walls, though Lucy could almost touch both sides at once, so it didn’t do much for stealth.

The only sound to hit their ears was the light tap of their boots. A shiver shot down Lucy’s back.

When they reached the second trap door, Sullivan turned to the group.

“This is it. These stairs lead directly into their headquarters.” He adjusted the gun hanging across his body. “It’s silent down there, so we should have a few minutes before they know.”

“Or they already know and are ready to kill us.” Lucy raised her eyebrows.

Sullivan met her gaze, but didn’t comment. “Let’s go.”

This trap door led to shiny gray steps that matched the walls—a stark contrast from the tunnel they were leaving.

As the group filled the short hallway, Sullivan stopped at the end and pointed to the right. “Half of you follow me.” He nodded at Wes. “Half of you go with Wes.”

Lucy, already standing towards the left, walked side by side with Wes. Grace went with Sullivan.

The hallway turned a corner almost immediately after it split. The two groups could no longer see or hear each other.

Lucy held tight to her gun, though she didn’t hold as tight to her confidence. She could shoot it, but that didn’t mean it would help.

Wes’ arm sprung out at the end of the hallway. He turned with a finger on his lips.

Voices were around the corner.

He motioned the man behind Lucy up. She was grateful for that.

They peered around the corner, both lining up a shot, and the voices stopped.

The guys fist bumped, but a clatter behind them ruined the moment.

The first shot went off and hit the light above them. Blue light surrounded them.

Lucy stayed close to the ground, trying to help. She had no idea if she was hitting anyone or anything.

A body thumped to the ground beside her and the blue disappeared.

Wes stood slowly and spoke with breathy words. “We got ‘em,” he grinned, “but we’ve got to get these guys back.”

His motion to the floor hit Lucy hard in the chest as she saw three people down in blood. She spun around into the next hallway with her hand over her mouth. Blood was not her strong point. She took a deep breath and looked up.

“Oh god,” Lucy stumbled back over her own feet. Two men with sly grins lifted their guns. “Abort.” She started running back.

Wes saw her first and his goofy grin from their previous win faded. “Shit!”

“Abort! Abort!” Lucy yelled. She looped her arm under someone’s armpit and pulled with Wes on the other side. They stumbled back to the stairs, blue lights sparking over their heads.

She dared to look back before they dove onto the closed staircase. “They aren’t following.” She let the injured man rest on the bottom steps.

Wes shrugged. “Weird future rules. Let’s not take it for granted.” He helped the man stand and they worked their way up the steps where the other group was already waiting.

Lucy peered around the corner one last time and was met with a different man, but one she’s seen before—tall, dark, and evil. She sprinted up the stairs.


This was a freaking struggle to get out, you guys. To be honest, I wrote the second half at work in my phone notes… worked out, though!

Thanks for being patient! The story is almost over, but I have no idea how many chapters I will split it into—could be three, could be seven!

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Where It All Went Wrong | 18

“Where are we going?”

The bedroom light had turned on just as Lucy had turned it off. She hadn’t even made it to her bed. Her eyes locked with Sullivan’s and after a moment he jerked his head towards the front door.

She followed him outside and into the woods, rubbing the imminent sleep from her eyes. “You realize I haven’t even slept yet.” She jogged up to his side and wound her arms tight over her chest.

“You slept all day.” Sullivan’s hands were shoved in his pockets. His pace was steady through the forest.

Lucy rolled her eyes and they walked in silence. The sun was just beginning to rise, casting a dull golden light through the leaves. The path, or lack there of, twisted and turned parallel to the city and sooner rather than later, they arrived at a stubby line of trees.

Sullivan put a finger to his lips and crouched under the tangled branches. She got down beside him, holding on to his shoulder for balance. They weren’t there long before a man of similar age and olive skin walked into the clearing.

He crossed the small grassy area, picking up sticks and branches along the way. Once he had an arms full, he walked back from where he came and sent a lingering glance over his shoulder. The sun shone bright on his black hair.

Lucy gripped Sullivan’s jacket. Her eyes stayed on that spot long after the man left, until everything blurred together. “Sullivan,” she whispered.

He wrapped his hand around hers, taking it off his shoulder. “He’s always up early, gathering wood.”

“Sullivan, why are we here?” Her words were tight in her throat.

“His house is just beyond those trees. It’s small, enough room for one.” He ignored her, but squeezed her hand.

Lucy finally broke her gaze and turned to him. “Sully,” she whispered again, slowly.

Sullivan tensed for a moment before coughing and meeting her stare. “You recognize him?”

She nodded.

“It isn’t the man who shot you,” he looked back towards the trees, “it’s his present self.”

“He looks exactly the same.” Lucy shook her head.

He shrugged. “Haven’t quite figured that one out yet, but I’m sure it has to do with the chemical.”

“Why,” Lucy stuttered, “why are you showing me this?”

Sullivan took a deep breath. “Look, I trust Piper with my whole heart, but” his eyes drifted up to hers, “if she finds out about him, he’s dead.”

She looked down to the ground. “Wouldn’t that be a good thing?” It was hard for her to get the words out.

“He has no idea what is going on and won’t for years.”

The statement sat in the air, lofted, but heavy and the two froze together in a somber silence. It would be an easy out for the future, but then again, there was no guarantee someone else wouldn’t take the man’s place. An innocent life in the present wasn’t worth those odds in the future.

Lucy flipped her hand around in his grasp and held tight. She stood up, not letting go. Sullivan followed suit and together they made a silent pack to keep the man safe and away from WDS.

The walk back to the village was quiet, but the pair moved slower and stood closer than normal. A heavy weight split in half now lived on both of their shoulders.

With the entrance in sight, Lucy needed to ask one more question before they were no longer alone. “Do people usually call you Sully?”

Sullivan’s jaw tensed and he stared straight ahead. “My dad did. Piper and Wes picked it up, but the others don’t.” He glanced at her. “Why?”

She shrugged and the clouds caught her gaze. “Have you read my book, yet?”

He furrowed his eyebrows and stopped. “Answer a question with a question?” The side of his mouth flicked up. “Not to mention two very unrelated questions.”

Lucy tilted her head to the side and slowly spun around to face him. She was pretty confident in it at this point, but he needed to know, too. “There’s a page in there,” she pushed her hair over one shoulder and her eyes landed on his, “saying to trust Sully.”

Sullivan’s face smoothed over with a slight oval to his between his lips. It was the most innocent she had ever seen him.

He took a step closer to Lucy and put his arm around her shoulder. They walked back to the village in a comfortable silence.


Started a new job two weeks ago and am just getting back into the flow of things (aka not taking naps after work)!

Thanks for reading this slightly shorter but very important chapter!

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Where It All Went Wrong | 17

Her head hurt and her back hurt. Her stomach hurt, too. So did her legs.

Lucy hurt.

She opened her eyes, but stayed stiff as a board. She was in her room at the village and it was dark. Slowly and painful, she pushed up from the bed. Her legs hung off the side and she held her head, massaging her temples.

Soft murmurs floated to her ears through the crack in the door. She stood up, grabbing the ache in her side, and wobbled to meet them.

All eyes turned to Lucy when she entered the dim room.

“What happened?” Her eyes were as heavy as her body felt and she collapsed on the closest couch, wincing at the fast motion.

“Lucy!” A messy chorus of her name rang between the walls.

Piper kneeled down in front of her first. She held her hand. “What do you remember?” Her voice was soft and a small smile matched it.

Lucy closed her eyes, resting back into the cushions. “Blue lights, evil guy in white.” Her eyes snapped open and she dropped her chin to look at Piper. “Did I get shot?”

A snort came from the woman Lucy quickly remembered as Grace. “Welcome to the club.”

Her heart picked up as her eyes darted between the faces in front of her and she took a deep breath in. “Wow.”

A lighter mood fell in the room, a few chuckles trickling out. Lucy managed a grin, but it didn’t last for long. She didn’t think getting shot would make her entire body hurt.

Enzo saw her face fall. “WDS is from the future remember?” He sat down beside her. “A shot from one of their guns is a whole hell of a lot more powerful than one of ours. It knocked you out for an entire day.”

She nodded to herself and shrugged off her occasional inability to see the obvious. “Wait, a day?”

“You got shot last night, Luce.” Wesley sat on the arm of the couch, though because of his size, it looked more like a casual lean.

She dropped her head into her hands and groaned. It was like she skipped class and was behind on all the homework, drama, and gossip. A hand rubbed her back and her muscles relaxed—a little.

“Hey,” Piper’s warm tone brought Lucy’s eyes back up, “it wasn’t for nothing. Your book.”

“You read it?”

Piper nodded and reached back for the notepad Grace held out for her. “You, of course, can read it all on your own time, but for now, we’ll give you the breakdown.” She sat back and crossed her legs on the floor in front of Lucy.

“First and foremost, I wish you had at least gotten to the first page.” She smiled. “It might have saved us a lot of trouble.”

“That’s a pretty big might.”

Lucy’s gaze darted towards the corner, where the grumpy man she saved, or maybe he saved her, stood. His eyes narrowed down and she couldn’t even meet them.

“Your future self wrote to never give the book to anyone outside the village.” Enzo continued. “So yes, it may be a big might because you had no idea who we were at that time, but you never know.” He glared behind him at Sullivan.

Piper cleared her throat. “You explained a few main things we need to know like, the only reason WDS is here is actually quite simple. They need to gather more of the chemical they use.”

“Because they’re greedy and disgusting.” Wesley did air quotes with his words. “Sassy then, sassy now—glad to hear you don’t grow out of it.” He winked.

A grin crept up on Lucy’s face. She hadn’t been around Wesley that much, but she enjoyed this side of him.

Grace nudged Wes in the shoulder. “You told us where to find the original point of creation for the chemical, which is also where they store it. WDS thinks it will lead them to more.”

Lucy’s eyes widen. “Where is it?”

“The tunnels you and Sully found,” Piper flipped a page in her notebook, “led to not only their hideout, but where the chemical is stored.”

“The magic spot of bright blue,” Enzo said, tracing his hand on an imaginary curve above his head.

Lucy ran a hand through her hair and scooted up in her seat. “What else is in there?”

“Well, unfortunately not everything is good news.” Piper looked her in the eyes. “Starting off with the reason WDS never follows us to the village. That part might be good, but the reasoning you stated was that key members of the village have an effect on WDS’ future. If they come in to contact too early, the future changes.”

She frowned. “You mean future traitors.”

Piper nodded before sharing a look with Enzo. “There is also a portion about your family, your real family.”

Lucy perked up.

“Lucy,” Piper grabbed her hand again, “Your real uncle is the scientist that created the chemical and sold it to the leader of the WDS’ family, though there was no obvious indication of the family being corrupted at that time. After speaking with your real father, he was going to back out of the deal.”

A weight sunk into her shoulders. Water welled up and threatened to fall. “The car crash happened before he could.”

Piper squeezed her hand. “Yes, but Lucy,” she waited until their eyes met, “the crash was an accident—the most painful coincidence of them all.”

Lucy took the information as it was, but a fire sparked in her as a tear rolled down her face. Whether the WDS had been created back then or not, they are still the reason she’s never known her real father.

Silence engulfed the room and was followed by a poorly stifled yawn.

Piper furrowed her brows at Wesley, but stood up regardless. She walked to the table and grabbed the book. “It’s late and we’re all tired, but feel free to stay up and read it through.” She handed it over to Lucy. “There’s still much we don’t know, but you gave us a fighting chance.”

Lucy nodded, gripping the binding of the old book.

Wesley patted her shoulder. “Hey, I’m glad you’re okay.”

She looked up at him. “Thank you.”

He walked away with Grace following suit after leaving her with a warm smile. Enzo leaned down for a gentle hug and kiss on the cheek while Piper said goodnight with a knowing smile. That only left Sullivan, but he was already gone.

It was disappointment that took his place.

Lucy shook her head at his lack of regard for anyone, but himself and finally opened the book. She settled deeper into the cushions and read word by word, page by page for hours. It wasn’t until the room began to grow lighter that she decided to take a break.

“Just one more page,” she muttered.

It was a page she didn’t expect to see. The only words sat small and in the center and she didn’t know what to make of them.

TRUST SULLY.


Thank you for reading! This story is taking a bit longer to get out, but I’m trying to decide on how fast/slow to end it, so… that’s why, haha. 

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Where It All Went Wrong | 16

“You seriously want me to wait to read it?” Lucy stood above Sullivan, who had made the couch his home, with crossed arms.

He sunk deeper into the cushions with the remote held loose in his hand. “If you read it now, you’ll do something rash and probably dangerous.”

Lucy dropped her arms. “You don’t know that. You barely know me.”

“I know you enough, having run after you countless times already in the few days we’ve known each other.” He shifted in his seat, making room for her. “We’ve waited this long, we can wait a little longer.”

A fake, closed smile met his words, but Lucy sat down regardless. The book was still shoved in his backpack and sat underneath his legs that were now propped up on the coffee table. She didn’t know what game he was playing, but he got her this far, so benefit of the doubt it was.

It was about twenty minutes into some random comedy show before the knock.

Their heads snapped to each other and Sullivan was on his feet, holding out a hand for Lucy to stay still. Light on his feet, he walked over and peered through the peephole. His body tensed and he was back over in a second.

“We need to get this out of here.” He picked up the bag, keeping his voice low.

There was another knock.

Lucy, wide-eyed with a racing heart, looked around the room. She was so frantic, she almost missed the obvious. “Fire escape!” She grabbed his forearm.

Sullivan nodded and tossed his backpack to her. “Go straight to the woods.”

She hesitated. “What?”

“Run to the woods,” he squeezed her shoulder, “and I’ll meet you there.”

There was another knock at the door and Lucy was sure the next would knock it completely down.

Sullivan pulled her up. “Go.”

She jogged over to the window, still with wide eyes and a huge uncertainty on her shoulders. Sullivan turned out the lights as she got on the fire escape and she heard the door open. A few steps down and the fight began. It made her go faster.

It was the middle of the day, a few hours before the rush, so the streets were open and Lucy only looked slightly crazy sprinting down them. She kept glancing back for Sullivan or any of the WDS, but there were only the few random citizens out and about.

It made her more nervous.

At the edge of the woods, she slowed down and hid within the trees. Her heartbeat was in her ears and she couldn’t stop fidgeting. It was the longest two minutes of her life.

When Sullivan rounded the corner, she jumped out of her hiding spot, only to be forced to the ground when a bright blue light took out the branch just above her.

A few WDS were coming from the left, a couple hundred yards farther back than Sullivan, but with their futuristic guns, that didn’t mean much.

Lucy shuffled back into the cover of the edge of the forest and waited for Sullivan to catch up. As much as she would love to get a move on it, knowing he would soon be at her heels, she had no idea where to go. Paying attention those last few trips to the village wasn’t a priority.

After a few more glowing bullets, Sullivan made it and the two were off. Lucy was fast, but couldn’t keep up with him. He slowed down for her.

The two zigzagged between trees and brush, flashes of blue light getting much to close for comfort. They were almost the entrance when Lucy turned around.

“They’re falling behind.” She looked at Sullivan with a smile on her face and slowed her pace.

He followed suit, but reached out to her. “We’re still not safe, Lucy.”

“They can’t go this far. It’ll be fine.” As soon as she said those words, she regretted it.

Everything seemed to fall into slow motion. A man with tan skin and black hair that contrasted with his white suit stepped out from the trees much closer than his colleagues. His gun pointed at Sullivan. The blue light went straight for his chest.

Lucy tried to push him out of the way and everything went black.


Wow, this was a struggle to get out, you guys. I always get frustrated when I can’t just sit down and get this stuff out, but here it is long overdue. Anyway, this is a short story, so it should be pretty fast-paced from here on out!

Thanks for reading!

 

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Where It All Went Wrong | 15

“We need to leave.”

Sullivan was out the door before Lucy even had time to finish her toast. She rolled her eyes, pushing off the counter and following him out. “You should probably eat,” she mumbled after stuffing the rest of the bread in her mouth.

“I’ll grab something at the bookstore.” He walked a bit slower this morning, allowing her to keep up at a normal pace, but his eyes didn’t stay in one place for long. It was nearly six in the morning and the city hadn’t quite woken up yet. Lack of people meant lack of cover.

The hybrid bookstore-coffee shop was a few streets down from Lucy’s apartment—her apartment being the corner between it and her shop. She had walked by it a few times to get to the bakery next door, but had never thought about stepping inside. She probably should have as research for her own little shop, though she wasn’t quite sure if she’d ever get the chance to revive it.

The trip over was quiet, with the lack of people bustling around missing and only the chirping of birds to fill the silence. Lucy stayed so close to Sullivan, her arm brushed against the rough fabric of a flimsy backpack slung on his shoulders.

When they came up to the store, Sullivan pulled back. He lightly held her arm. “We don’t have any connections here, so we need to act like normal customers. Look around, pull out different books, get coffee, but don’t look like you’re actually looking for something.”

Lucy nodded and grabbed his hand off her arm. She smirked and laced their fingers. “Normal,” she mused and pulled him inside. She just wanted to see more of Sullivan, any sort of reaction that wasn’t angry. She peered over her shoulder and saw his face relax. That would do for now.

The store smelt of fresh coffee and old paper. There was only one other person in there besides the two workers. It was an old woman and she was reading by the window.

Lucy went straight to the counter. It was earlier and a coffee would do her well. Sullivan came up behind her and added a breakfast sandwich to her order for himself. He continued their cover of an early morning couple with ease. Lucy deemed he was a good actor. Not a trace of anguish was left on his face.

After paying, she grabbed her coffee and put it to her lips. It was a wonderful way to start the morning. She wandered toward the bookshelves that lined the far half of the store. They stood all the way up to the ceiling. There were a lot of books to rifle through.

Sullivan started towards the windows, so Lucy walked to the back. The books seemed to be in order by genre and then author, but her common sense told her that the one they were looking for wouldn’t follow the rules.

Her fingers brushed the bindings as she went down to the end. She could barely reach the shelf second from the top and had no hope of stretching all the way up. Fortunately, the book was huge and would stick out.

Or so she thought.

Three shelves later and still no book and now she was back to back with Sullivan. Lucy ran her fingers through her hair. “It’s not here.”

Sullivan glanced around. No one else had come in since they’d been there. “Keep looking.”

She held in a groan, but moved to the next shelf, the one he had already checked, while he moved on to the one that she had already checked. She was beginning to think they got played, so she spent more of her time looking out the window then through the books.

The crowd had started to pick up as it usually did on a weekday morning, though surprisingly most rushed right past the shop. She would have thought this would be a prime spot for that running late coffee. While musing over the thought, Lucy failed to notice the bright white suit closing in and when she finally did, he were just a cross walk away.

She jumped in her spot and ran to the back. “Sullivan!” she whispered.

He had his arm stretched up all the way to the top of the book shelf and pulled down an old, dusty book.

Lucy’s face dropped. “Seriously? I looked there,” she mumbled.

He gave a half smile and shoved it into his backpack. “What did you need?”

Her eyes widened. “White suit guy is outside.”

The front door dinged and they froze in their spots or rather Lucy did until Sullivan pulled her to the far wall. They snuck down the rows to the corner, hiding behind the large shelf ends. The man from WDS was at the counter ordering. All they had to do was stay close to the shelf by the windows and sneak out the front door.

It was easy until they met the old lady sitting at a table, slightly blocking the aisle, but before either of them could say a thing, she turned around and winked. She stood up and pushed her chair in, grabbing her cane and walking to the side of the man farthest from the door.

“Excuse me, sir,” she said, touching his arm, “this is an awfully beautiful suit. Where in the world did you get it?” She met his gaze, which was now away from the front door.

Lucy’s mouth parted slightly. “She’s distracting him.”

Sullivan took the miracle as it came and ushered her out, following closely behind. His pace sped up as they rounded the corner.

“I thought you said you didn’t have any connections there.” Lucy was almost jogging to keep up.

He led them down an alley. “We don’t.”

“You don’t know who that was?”

On the other side, the street was more crowded and they easily blended in with the crowd. Her apartment was just another block down.

“No.”

They slowed their pace, weaving between people, but keeping a low profile. Lucy concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other. Too many thoughts ran through her head that if she didn’t, she’d head face first into the concrete.

They made it to her apartment a few minutes later.

“You sure they won’t try and break in?” Lucy asked while locking and dead bolting her door.

Sullivan was double checking the windows and pulling the blinds. “They’ve never gone into anyone’s home before. We think it has something to do with their timeline. They don’t want to screw up what they have in the future.”

There wasn’t much reassurance in his voice. It sounded like he was reading off a script. He saw the effect that it had, or didn’t have, on Lucy and sighed, walking over to her. “We’ll be okay. I’ll call Piper. If we don’t make it back tomorrow, she’ll send help.”

Lucy tried to smile, she really did, but the heavy feeling grew from the pit of her stomach to her heart. She stepped away and took a deep breath, but her eyes landed on the discarded backpack on the floor.

This was going to be one hell of a night.


Finally got this sucker out! Also, FINALLY getting my writing mojo back.

Thank you for reading!

 

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Where It All Went Wrong| 14

They had no trouble getting back to the village. It surprised Lucy, but she didn’t voice it. It didn’t stay on her mind for long.

It was only Piper in the house. She was writing in a notebook, sitting at the center table. She closed it when she noticed the two walk inside.

“You look unsettled.”

Lucy bit her lip and looked at Sullivan and then back at Piper. She was staring at him, so Lucy looked again. His expression looked normal to her.

“I think we found a way in.” Sullivan narrowed his eyes and clenched his fists. He was getting angry or maybe anxious. Lucy couldn’t tell.

Piper took a deep breath in and motioned to the table. “Sit.” She reopened her notebook and flipped to a clean page. They all sat down, scooting their chairs in close.

“My shop,” Lucy leaned forward with her forearms on the table, “it’s in my shop.” Adrenaline scrambled in the pit of her stomach, taking over her words.

“Lucy had found a hidden room behind a flimsy fake wall. We found old blueprints of the building from the original owner. It led us to a hidden staircase, a tunnel, that led straight to the WDS.” Sullivan’s words were slow and to the point. His calm demeanor overtook her frantic one, despite him being visibly affected just moments before.

Piper had been scribbling down words, freezing at his last. “They’re underground?” The question was rhetorical. She barely gave them time to blink before she stood, pushing her chair back with her legs. “Of course. That’s why they seem to just disappear.”

Piper mumbled words with each step, seemingly putting puzzle pieces together Lucy didn’t even know existed. She stopped suddenly, turning to Sullivan. “Any luck with the book?”

“We haven’t even looked yet.” He shook his head. “We came straight here after the tunnel.”

She nodded and clasped her hands behind her back. “Go ask before the day is over. I’ll update the others upon their return.”

Sullivan nodded and got up, ready to leave.

Lucy, on the other hand, stayed in her spot. “Wait, that’s it?” They had been there less than five minutes. She didn’t want to leave. She still had questions to ask.

“We’ve still got work to do, Lucy.” Sullivan’s hand enclosed her shoulder. “We don’t waste time around here.”

She rubbed her eyes and sighed. Looking up, she saw Piper on the couch, writing in her notebook at light speed. There was no other choice. She followed Sullivan out the door and back into town.

Lucy assumed they would go back to her shop, so when they walked right by it, she jogged the few steps to catch up with Sullivan. “Where are we going?” She kept her voice down. No one around them was dressed in white, but that didn’t stop her from growing more paranoid by the second.

Sullivan leaned his head down slightly. “We have a contact. If anyone is going to know anything about the book, it’s him.”

She nodded and stayed close. They walked a couple blocks down from her apartment and shop, stopping at a popular convenience store stuck between a coffee shop and bakery. Inside there were aisles full of anything you might need on a whim, from food to toiletries.

“Ah, Sullivan.” A man stationed behind the front counter waved. “I was wondering when I’d get another visit.”

“Gus,” he walked up and shook his hand, “hopefully we didn’t come for nothing.”

The man, Gus, had wrinkled skin and dark hair that had almost completely turned gray. His eyes were bright, sticking out from his deep skin and when he smiled, his entire presence followed suit.

“You didn’t, in fact,” Gus leaned onto the counter and pointed at Lucy, “and this is the Lucy I keep hearing about?”

Her cheeks flushed, but she nodded and held out her hand. “I’m Lucy Lexington,” she said.

He shook her hand. “You’ve caused quite the scuttle among those jerks,” he pulled his hand back and grinned, “so boy am I glad to finally meet you.”

Despite his words giving her a rousing round of nausea, Lucy felt at ease around him. His joyful demeanor was a pleasant change.

Sullivan stepped forward and dropped his voice. “I’m assuming since you’ve heard about Lucy, you’ve heard about her book.”

Gus’ gaze shifted back and forth, checking the windows in the store. “They have it, though they sure are cocky ‘bout it. Sounds like they left it in the bookstore down on Second, the one with coffee. They think your group is too stupid to search in the open for it.”

Lucy shrugged to herself, musing over the statement and Sullivan shoulder bumped her. “Have you heard anything else, anything important?” he asked.

“That’s about it, Sullivan. Sometimes they talk about their leader—sounds like a crazy guy—but that’s it.” Guz lazily glanced over to the front door and snapped up. “You need to leave out the back now.” He walked out from behind the counter.

Sullivan and Lucy looked to the door and saw a few people dressed in white suits. The WDS had yet to notice them. He grabbed her arm and followed Gus.

“That bookstore opens at six in the morning. Go then and make it fast. They usually send some over for breakfast around seven.” Gus moved empty boxes out of the way and used his shoulder to force open a door that blended in with the walls. He motioned them out, just as the front door opened. “Good luck.”

Lucy hopped out first, looking down the alley both ways. She had no idea which way to go. Sullivan grabbed her arm again and started to run. They went away from the front of the building and turned left at the end of the alley. The street was narrowed and followed along the backs of the stores. They followed it all the way to her apartment.

Once they were safe inside and after Sullivan double checked the door and windows, Lucy crossed her arms.

“Who the hell was that?”

Sullivan peaked through the blinds of her living room window. Deciding they were safe, he sat down on the couch. “That was Gus. WDS goes to him for supplies. They think he’s on their side, but Gus is a war vet. He hates them.”

Lucy raised an eyebrow. “Double agent? That seems,” she paused and sat down facing him, “dangerous.”

He huffed. “What isn’t dangerous about this situation?”

A silence fell between them thick of the imminent dangers. It was clear to Lucy that she didn’t even know the half of it and that scared her, but those articles she found on her real father wouldn’t leave her mind. For some reason, she felt it was all related and she wanted answers.

Lucy took a deep breath and reached for the remote. “I assume you’re staying over, so we might as well start with a movie.”

Sullivan nodded slowly, but sunk deeper into the couch. “Maybe a comedy to lighten the mood?”

A small smile slid onto her face and she looked at him from the corner of her eye. He returned it, starting off the first relaxing night they’d had in days.


Thank you for reading! This story is something fun I’m doing to break up the long editing process of A Hero’s Secret, so it’s not as detailed as usual. Either way, I’m enjoying writing it and hope you are enjoying reading it!

Let me know if you’ve read the entire thing so far!

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Where It All Went Wrong | 13

“Sullivan, cool it.”

Lucy groaned, letting her head fall into the cushions of her couch. He had not stopped pacing since they found the hidden staircase in the blueprints of her shop.

“We just need to wait a little longer,” she tried again. He ignored her, continuing his pacing with his eyes on the front window. “I don’t want my dad near this.” Her words fell soft and Sullivan’s steps slowed.

He walked over to her and sat down, leaning his elbows on his knees. “Did you text him?”

Lucy sighed in relief. His constant movement was making her anxious. “He’s not great with his phone, but yes. When he texts back saying he’s at home, we can go.”

Sullivan nodded and his face smoothed out from his normally angered state. He looked much younger to her. It was nice and she averted her gaze at the thought, feeling a slight warmth creep up her neck.

Much to his relief, and honestly her’s too, Lucy’s phone went off just a few minutes later. Sullivan was on his feet before she could even read the text.

“And what if that wasn’t my dad?” she questioned as they walked out the door.

He shrugged. “Then I guess we’d have to sit back down, huh?” A ghost of a grin cracked onto his face and she realized it was the first lighthearted thing to come out of his mouth since they met.

She smiled and followed him to her shop without an ounce of hesitation. It was a quick trip, specially since Sullivan was practically running. She was pretty sure he had lost his cool, but maybe he had already checked for the enemy. Either way, once they got to the shop, they both ran to the corner she had found the book.

Sullivan began knocking on the walls with his ear against it. “If it sounds hollow, it’s the staircase.”

Lucy nodded and followed suit. They knocked high and low, starting in the corner and moving out. Nothing sounded hollow.

“What if it’s the floor?” she asked. The building barely stretched any farther towards the woods. It would make sense that the stairs would start under the floorboards and not in the walls.

Sullivan nodded. “It probably won’t sound hollow then, but it should sound different.”

They both fell to their knees, knocking on the floorboards to find any sign of the hidden staircase.

“Here!” Sullivan’s low voice echoed through the room. Lucy shot up and looked for something to break the floor. Of course, there was nothing.

 

“There was a crowbar in the hidden room,” he said and darted off, coming back with a very old and dusty piece of black metal.

Lucy narrowed her eyes. “Are you sure that’s a crowbar?”

He shrugged. “It’s going to work like one either way.” He stabbed it underneath one floorboard and pulled it up in one go.

“Okay,” she nodded, “you got it.”

He pulled a few more up, dust and grime coming with it. The floors were one thing Lucy hadn’t gotten to cleaning and the neglected dust leaked through between the boards, gathering on a trap door.

She paused, looking up at Sullivan. The both froze before ripping open the small door. The hinges squeaked in protest, but it opened much easier than they had thought. It wasn’t even locked.

Underneath was the sketchiest set of stairs Lucy had ever seen. She moved to the first one and took a step.

Sullivan held her back. “I’m going first.” He didn’t wait for a response.

“It’s my store,” she mumbled, following him down. She stayed close to his back and her hands trailed the dirt walls to give her some sort of stability.

It was dark and dusty. Sullivan held out his phone as a flashlight. Random sized planks of wood held up the walls, leaving patches of crumbling dirt between. It was not safe.

They walked for what seemed like a long time to Lucy, but the lack of light and space could have gone to her head. Finally, Sullivan turned to her. He held his arm, gesturing her to stand next to him. The tunnel had ended and their feet were at the corner of another trap door.

Lucy met Sullivan’s look with a grin and they bent down to open another mystery. They brushed of the dirt to uncover the entire wooden door. It was much larger than the one in her shop. Sullivan reached over to open it, but stopped.

They heard voices.

Lucy whipped her head around, squinting into the darkness. She couldn’t see anything. Worried, she grabbed onto Sullivan.

He put a finger to his lips and pointed to the trap door. The voices were coming from underneath. Slowly, as to not make any noise, they leaned down as close as they could get.

Not many words could be made out. It didn’t sound like the people below were that close, but Sullivan and Lucy didn’t move a muscle. They needed to hear something.

Turns out they didn’t need to wait very long at all.

“Lucy Lexington seems to have finally joined them, Sir. We don’t have much time.”

Lucy held her breath. It was a woman’s voice, but nothing followed.

A few moments later, she spoke again with strained words. “I know, Sir, but we can’t affect the timeline like that.”

She was on the phone. It took a little longer for her next response. “I understand. I’ll get a team together.”

When he realized the conversation was over, Sullivan pulled Lucy up and she let him guide her the entire way out of the tunnel. Her eyes were glazed over, staring at everything and nothing.

In the shop, Sullivan took her shoulders. “Hey, we don’t know what she was talking about.”

Lucy blinked a few times to get her vision back in focus. “We can say that if we want,” she said, feeling tears line her eyes, “but we both know how bad that sounded.”

Sullivan did nothing to disagree. In fact, he decided ignored it all together. “Lucy, this is good. We found the WDS. We know a way in. We’re one step closer.” He noticed her lack of enthusiasm. “Let’s just get back, okay? Piper and Enzo need to hear this.”

Lucy stared at him. She assumed he was trying to take her mind off the very clear danger that lie in the future. It wasn’t working, but she nodded. For once, she was eager to get back. She knew that deep in the woods, inside that village, she’d be safe.


Thanks for reading! Leave a comment down below if you’ve read all 13 parts so far!

 

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Where It All Went Wrong | 12

Her street was as it usually was on a weekday, full of people rushing and wandering. Lucy wanted to stop at her apartment to shower and brush her teeth. Realistically, she thought she’d be able to at least grab some fresh clothes.

Sullivan had a different idea. His arm hovered around her at times to keep her on track and he led her right past her place.

Once they were at her shop, she dug the keys out of her pocket. He didn’t let her grab her backpack, which at first annoyed her, but she hadn’t even gotten a chance to ask about her real father. She’d be back.

The shop looked as she left it, aside from another thin layer of dusting forming over everything she had cleaned a few days ago. Lucy sighed. All she wanted to do was to put this place back together.

Sullivan wasted no time in getting to work and wandered off to the other side of the room.

“There’s an extra room back there.” She pointed to the far corner. Sullivan stopped what he was doing and raised his eyebrows, looking between her and the very obvious door to another room.

Lucy shrugged. “Figured it’d be a good place to start because there is another hidden room inside.” She smirked. If only he would listen instead of assuming.

“That,” Sullivan stopped what he was doing and walked to the room, “should have been said before we got here.”

She rolled her eyes and followed him into the room. He had already pulled the remaining broken wall out of the way. It formed another doorway that was easy to walk through instead of tumbling over. Lucy was thankful for that.

“So what exactly are we looking for?” She stepped over broken pieces of wood and random scattered objects. Lucy had been so shocked the first time, she’d neglected the fact that it looked like a bomb went off.

“Anything weird.”

Lucy pursed her lips together. His answers were so helpful. With a shake of the head, she started on the floor and picked up everything from pencils and scratch paper to science books and test tubes. At least in her corner, there was nothing out of the ordinary.

A scoff caught her attention.

“There’s nothing here.” Sullivan ran a hand through his hair. “This is where you found the book?”

“I found this room yesterday,” she stood up, wiping off her jeans, “and I found the book a few days ago.”

“Then why are we looking in here?” He glared.

“Really? You didn’t ask me if I found the book here, Sullivan, and this is a freaking hidden room!” Lucy threw her hands out from her waist. Mr. Lack of Emotion crossed his arms with a face expectant of a better answer.

She huffed, letting her arms fall to her sides and walked out of the room. “Over here.”

The bookshelf she found it on was in the opposite corner as the hidden room. Lucy stood under it with her hand on her hip. “It was up there,” she pointed to the top shelf, “but there isn’t anything else up there. I cleaned it.”

Sullivan reached up and pulled down a folded piece of paper.

“Okay, maybe I didn’t clean all of it,” she mumbled and rubbed her arm, but caught a sliver of a smile on his face. She grinned. “What is it?”

He unfolded it to a large rectangle sheet. They crouched down and flattened it on the floor. Faded lines filled the entire paper. “Blueprints.”

Lucy traced the lines. “They’re hand-drawn blueprints.” She looked up to find Sullivan already staring at her.

A knocked startled them, but Sullivan handled it much better, already up on his feet with the paper folded neatly when the door opened.  She was still on the ground.

“Lucy?”

Lucy scrunched her nose and moved past him to the voice. “Dad?” She closed the distance between them with a hug. “What are you doing here?”

David laughed and patted her on the back. “You told me to build you a table, remember?”

She nodded. “Oh yeah, I forget.”

Her dad laughed, but his smile faded with a raise of his eyebrows. “Unless you already have help?”

Lucy turned on her heel. Sullivan had walked up behind them and held out his hand. “Sullivan Lawson, sir.”

“David Lexington,” he stepped forward to shake his hand, “and what are you doing with my daughter?”

She dropped her head into her hand. She thought the boy interrogations ended in high school.

“Just helping her out with the shop,” Sullivan gave a closed-mouth smile, “as a friend.”

David nodded once and smiled. “Great. It’s about time she had some help other than mine.”

“All right,” she clapped, “Dad we were actually just heading out, but you can measure what ever you need to measure and then lock up when you leave?” She grabbed Sullivan’s forearm and pulled him out the door. “Bye, love you!”

Once outside, she dropped his arm, but kept up her pace. Sullivan was taking his time. “Let’s go,” she said through her teeth. That didn’t affect him, so she impatiently waited in her spot.

“We need to go back there, Lucy.” He walked close to her once he caught up.

She clenched her jaw. “We’ll go back later once my dad is nowhere near.”

“You dad won’t mind if we work on cleaning the back room.”

Lucy shoved his shoulder and stopped. He got the hint and turned to her. “Every time I’ve found something related to whatever this is, the creepy people in perfect white suits have been lurking and trying to kill me, so no, we are not going back there until my dad leaves.”

She didn’t wait for his answer and started walking with the intention of going home. Sullivan let her. In her apartment, she locked the doors and closed the blinds.

“Let’s look at it here,” she said.

Sullivan nodded and took a seat on the couch, spreading out the paper on the coffee table. “This is the shop. It must have been drawn by the owner.” He brought his face closer to the drawing, scanning every inch.

Lucy sat down next to him and searched for the name she knew was the author. “There,” she pointed to the side she was sitting in front of, “Judas Hunt. He was the original owner of the shop.” She tilted her head and traced the outline above the name. “Sullivan,” she said slowly. Her fingers followed the angles of the staircase.

He looked over her shoulder. “Stairs?”

Her brow furrowed and she pulled the paper in front of her. Her eyes ran up and down. Everything else was there, even the hidden room. She sat straight up and looked Sullivan in the eyes.

“The stairs lead down. Sullivan, the shop doesn’t have a basement.”


Another long one for ya! Thanks for reading!

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Where It All Went Wrong | 11

Wesley had clunked his way into the house a little bit ago. Lucy was awake and jumped out of bed to get ready. She doubted he had just come over for breakfast and coffee.

“Hey, Lucy.” Wesley was sitting at the kitchen counter eating toast and drinking coffee.

Lucy’s mouth turned up. “Hi.” She squinted her eyes a little bit and stood across from him, leaning on the counter.

He was happily munching on his food. When he caught her stare he grinned. “I’m only like Sully during work, if that’s what you’re wondering.” He pushed his plate over to her. It had another piece of toast.

She slowly nodded and grabbed the piece, not being able to—or rather, not caring to—take her gaze off him as she took a bite. Wesley didn’t seem to mind as he took a swig of his coffee with a wink.

Sullivan marched through the room when they finished their breakfast. “Let’s go.” He didn’t wait for them to follow.

The trio took the short walk to the main house where Piper and Enzo were waiting for them. Another woman stood behind them with buzzed hair and striking eyes.

“Good,” Piper said, looking at Lucy, “you’re all here. Take a seat.” She moved around the table, so they could sit down. “Lucy, this is Grace.”

Grace, with an expression rivaling Sullivan’s, nodded once towards Lucy and sat down.

Within the short amount of time Grace actually looked at her, Lucy wasn’t able to change her wide-eyed look to a normal one. She sat down, running a hand through her hair. She wasn’t good at first impressions, especially when the new person looked like she could break her in half.

“The book is still a priority,” Enzo began, “but we need to continue our surveillance.” He stood at the end of the long table. “We won’t be able to do anything if we can’t find the WDS.”

“Grace and Wes,” Piper looked down at a list, “you work on tailing them. Remember, stay in contact, but you’re not to been seen together. If one of you is seen, the other can still follow them.”

Grace met Wesley’s grin with a smirk. “After you.”

The two stood up and left the house. Their voices faded as they went, but were filled with jokes and insults. They were eager and that sent chills down Lucy’s spine.

“Lucy, we want you to look in your shop. Sullivan will go with you. If that’s where you found the book, there’s more to find,” Piper continued.

“How do you know that?” She couldn’t hold back the question.

Piper’s gaze hardened, but only for a moment. “We don’t know anything for sure, but your future self had it sent there. Most of us found our note at our home with nothing of importance happening after.”

“And the ones that didn’t?”

Sullivan sighed. “I found mine at a park and then something happened after that we believe will be useful knowledge in the future.”

Lucy waited for him to elaborate on his stark words. He didn’t, just stared at her until she wimped out and looked away. Looking back at Piper, she nodded.

“You’ll be fine with Sullivan there, but” Enzo paused, “just be careful, as always.” He shared a look with the others and suddenly Lucy knew she was missing something.

“Try to stay out of sight,” Piper got back on topic. “The WDS has limits on what they can do, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. We never know when or why they back off.”

Sullivan stood, so Lucy followed suit. Out of habit, Lucy said thank you as they started to leave.

“No,” Enzo said, stronger than he had before, “thank you, Lucy, really.”

She took a deep breath with her forehead creasing and anything but confidence showing through. She followed Sullivan out without another word.


Thank you for reading!

I’m curious, have you read the story from the beginning or just this chapter?

 

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Where It All Went Wrong | 10

“I’m going to…” Lucy stumbled over her feet and pointed to the door. She left the house with all eyes on her. Whether it was information overload or the fact that she might actually believe them, fresh air was needed.

It was dark outside. The only light was from the moon that flitted in through the ceiling of leaves. Lucy had no idea where to go, but she didn’t care. From the front steps, she took a hard left.

She followed a path of uneven stepping stones that cut through the grass lawn. It wrapped around to the back of the house and ended far enough away that Lucy deemed it a great spot to drop.

The stones had led her to a rather large pond with subtle, yet beautiful landscaping around the edge and through the middle. Lucy sat crossed-legged at the edge of the water and took a deep breath, letting it out in a noisy sigh.

She closed her eyes, added a few more deep breaths, before giving up with a groan and falling on her back. She stayed like that for a long time. The grass beneath her had grown cold and damp. A chill had little bumps raised on her arms, but she didn’t bother moving, even when a voice broke the silence.

“You look cold.”

Lucy squinted in the dark. A dark figure stood above her, blocking the only light from the moon. From the moody tone, she made a not-so-wild guess on her visitor. “A nice man would offer me his jacket.”

Sullivan sat down next to her. He didn’t offer.

Holding back a scoff, she sat up and they both stared over the water.

“I,” Sullivan scratched the back of his neck. “I know this is a lot. It always is the first time.” He quickly glanced at Lucy. “You are a big part of this. You can’t turn away.”

Lucy could have laughed. She wasn’t sure if that was a pep talk, attempt at persuasion, or Sullivan being nice. She did know that he sounded the same as always—angry.

They sat for a few more moments. A soft breeze chilled the air and filled the awkward silence. Lucy thought about all of her questions, the endless ones about her future self, the ones about her family, her real family, and the ones about this village and the people in it.

She shook her head and stood up, brushing off her jeans. She waited for Sullivan to stand up and she followed him back to the house. When they walked inside, the soft chatter stopped.

Lucy wrung her hands together. All eyes were on her. She shrugged off the nerves. “I’ll help.”

A collective sigh of relief settled in the room. A couple smiles grew. Piper walked up and brushed Lucy’s hair behind her ear.

“Thank you,” she said and then paused with a loving look. “We’ll start in the morning.” She turned around and clasped her hands. “Sullivan, why don’t you have Lucy stay in your guest room. It’s much too late to bring her home.”

The two froze at the suggestion. Piper noticed and knocked Sullivan on the shoulder. “Get to it, Sully,” she left the room, “and lock the door on your way out!”

The other men had already left the room, leaving Sullivan and Lucy alone, the latter’s eyes darting across the room until she heard another slap of the screen door.

Sullivan had left her.

Her shoulders dropped. “Really,” she muttered and ran out after him. She was all the way down the steps when she realized she had to lock the front door. She actually did run to catch up to him after that.

His house was close and he waited for Lucy on the porch. It surprised her a little, but not as much as when he held the door open for her. It showed on her face and he shrugged in response.

The house was the same as Piper’s, small, cozy, and simple. Sullivan pointed across the room. “Bed’s made up in there. I’ll wake you in the morning.” He left without another glance.

Lucy sighed and walked to her room for the night. She plopped down on the bed—the only piece of furniture—and looked to the ceiling.

What was she getting herself into?


Thank you for reading my story! Many more chapters to come!

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