The Owlman Feeds at Midnight is the fifteenth chapter of Zak Saturday's Immortal Love Life. It was first published on January 15, 2016.
An Owlman, huh? Well, it's something different.
All of us were gathered in the living room in our house. Mom and Dad were looking at a holographic image of the two pieces of the Kur Stone that we had.
"The ridge crosses the line where our Kur Stone piece joins the one Doyle took from Argost," Dad said. "But Drew says it isn't Sumaric writing. I guess that—"
"Interrupting," Doyle said. "Uh, mini-man, gorilla-cat, you wanted to see this?"
He was working on some kind of machine to make it some sort of microwave. He had a popcorn bag with him, placed it on the machine, and pressed a button on the side. A laser beam shot out of the machine, hitting the popcorn bag, and instantly made fresh popped popcorn in just two seconds.
"Cool," I said.
"Is that my microwave field generator?" Dad asked.
"I juiced it," Doyle replied. "You were losing twenty percent to a magnetron inefficiency. Don't worry. I'll show you where your mistake was."
"But . . . it's mine."
Doyle opened the bag and sat down on the coach between me and Fiskerton, which annoyed Sarah, who was laying her head against my shoulder. (She still didn't like him.)
"So are you two a couple or what?" Doyle asked us.
Sarah and I both blushed, but didn't answer. I just nodded my head. Doyle didn't ask us anymore questions, but he had an odd smile on his face.
Mom turned the focus back on the current situation.
"The ridge looked geographical, so we found a match," she said, then a map of Europe appeared on a screen behind her. "This coast line in southern England, the village of Mawnan."
"Fascinating," Doyle said sarcastically.
"No, Doyle, this is big," I said. "If it's on the stone, it's something that'll help open Kur's tomb. If Argost hasn't figured this out yet, we can finally get one up on him." I stood up from the couch. "Come on. Why are we still here?"
"Wait. Business first," Doyle said.
"Excuse me?" Dad asked.
"I can help, but I can't give you anymore freebees."
"Ok. And what exactly would we be paying you for?" Mom asked.
"Uh, consulting services," he replied. "I made your microwave zapper twenty percent better, I can do the same for your mission."
Fiskerton seemed convinced by that, but Mom and Dad weren't.
"And, hey, the more I get paid, the sooner I can afford my own place, right?" Doyle said.
Mom and Dad were going to think about it. Meanwhile, we all got into our airship and headed to Mawnan, England.
We all were walking down a street. Fiskerton waved to every person we passed, but they all disregarded us. We walked past one alley and there were a couple kids, a boy and girl, hanging out in it. When they saw us, they looked scared.
"Charles, more creatures," I heard the girl say to the boy after we passed them.
I realized that she was referring to our pets.
"More?" I asked.
They ran deeper into the alley.
"Hey, wait up!" I called after them.
I ran after them, and Sarah and Zack followed me.
"Hey, hey, hey. It's ok," I assured them after we caught up to them. "They wouldn't hurt you. They're part of my family."
"Yeah," Sarah agreed. "They wouldn't hurt a fly."
"Unless they're told to," Zack said.
Sarah and I glared at him.
"Please, it's not safe after dark," the boy, whom I assumed was Charles, said. "Come on, Lily."
"Why?" I asked them. "What happens after dark?"
"Don't, Lily," Charles said to her. "It's not any of his—"
"It—it took our mom," Lily interrupted, tears streaming down her face.
"Aw, I'm sorry," Sarah told them.
"What exactly is it?" I asked.
"We have to go," Charles said. "It's not safe here, especially for strangers."
They started walking away.
"Wait!" Sarah called after them. "Can you at least tell us what took your mom?"
"The Owlman," Lily said.
Then she and her brother ran down the alley.
"The Owlman?" Zack asked.
"Uh, let's get back to our parents," I suggested.
Sarah and Zack nodded in agreement.
When we got out of the alley, we looked down the street where we last saw them and noticed Doyle holding a man upside down by his leg with one hand and a grenade in his other.
"Oh, great," Sarah muttered. "What the hell is he doing?"
It's amazing what can happen after only being gone a couple minutes. We ran toward them. My family was trying to get Doyle to let the man go.
"He feeds at midnight," the man said.
Doyle finally let him go and the man ran down the street.
The people that were walking by all around us saw what happened, including a police officer, and they didn't look happy about it. But why would they? We were strangers here, after all.
"So what do you think he was talking about?" Doyle asked.
"Maybe if you didn't do that to him, he would've told us what the hell he was talking about," Raylee said.
I think I knew.
"They call it the Owlman," I said. "Those two kids told us. It took their mom and a lot of other people too."
I felt bad for them. Mom placed a reassuring hand on my shoulder, and so did Sarah.
"You, stay where you are," that police officer said, coming over to us from across the street. He had a baton in his hand and was gesturing toward Doyle.
"I apologize for my brother, Constable," Mom said. "He's very bad with people."
"Never mind that. I want you out of my parish. Now!"
"Sir, if we could talk to someone—"
"The elderly gentleman mentioned something about a creature," Dad said.
"No!" the constable said. "Night is falling and I insist you leave."
Doyle grabbed the constable's baton and hat, which, of course, made things worse.
"Doyle!" Mom said.
She and Dad grabbed him and tried to pulled him back. The constable pulled out his whistle, but Doyle grabbed that too.
"Insist this," he said.
And he did, too, by putting us all in a jail—well, all except Komodo, who turned invisible at the last moment and got away—and taking away all of our weapons. He put us in a cell that was big enough for us all to fit in. Barely.
Mom and Dad weren't happy, of course, and glared at Doyle.
"He was running us out of town," he said defensively. "Look, now we've got front row seats for whatever feeds at midnight. It's called improvising."
Fiskerton clapped at the accomplishment, and I was pretty sure he wasn't doing it in a mocking way.
"I probably would've come up with a plan that didn't give my eleven-year-old son a criminal record," Dad said angrily.
"Yeah, in England. Do you know how many countries have a bounty on my—" He stopped when he noticed Mom glaring at him. "We'll save those stories for later."
We sat down on the benches in the cell and waited until it was midnight.
"I'm guessing this is going to put a mark on your reputation?" Sarah asked her mom.
"Not really," Raylee replied. "I mean, I have a criminal record in the U.S. as well."
"Yeah. Ironic for the Protector of America who stops all kinds of crime, small or large, huh?"
"What'd you do?" Zack asked.
"Kind of a lot. I've assaulted a couple police officers myself, and some other things I don't want to say."
"Why did you assault a couple police officers?" Sarah asked. "Don't you know better than to do that?"
"Yes," Raylee replied. "But you know how I get when people piss me off. Those women thought that just because they were police officers, they get to be all tough and bossy, especially to me. So I taught them a lesson: Don't mess with me, or you're going to get it."
"And that, and all those other crimes you did, didn't ruin your reputation?"
"No. Well, actually, yes, it did. The president at that time wanted me to stop being the Protector of America because of all those crimes I did, and that I'm being a little hypocritical for it, but he couldn't stop me even if he tried so he had no choice but to let me continue. Of course, the American people hate me more for other reasons and would probably prefer me to be a criminal rather than someone who speaks out against a lot of things that most of them probably do. But, hey, nobody's perfect. That's one of the reasons why people think I'm a bad influence."
"Like Doyle?" Zack asked, which caused him to get a glare from him.
"Shut up," Raylee said, glaring at him as well. "Like I said, nobody's perfect. Everybody's different."
"Ok," Sarah said. She used her powers to summon a guitar to her hands. "Do you guys mind if I play while we wait?"
Everyone shook their heads.
She started playing a tune, which sounded really good.
"How about you sing us a song?" Raylee suggested.
"Yeah," Zack agreed.
"No," Sarah replied a little harshly, and continued playing.
She did start to sing, but no sound came out.
"You do that when you're listing to your playlist," Zack said to Raylee.
"Yeah, so what?" she asked.
Sarah continued to play, but stopped when she looked outside the cell. "It's that girl again."
I looked where she was looking and I saw the little girl that we saw in Osorno the other day, standing just a few feet away from our cell.
"How did she get here?" I asked.
Sarah shook her head. "I don't know." She turned toward everyone else. "Can you guys see her this time?"
They all shook their heads.
You know, it is very frustrating when you can see someone or something that no one else can see and not think that you're crazy. Thankfully, Sarah could see her too.
The little girl looked exactly the same since the last time we saw her. Same clothes and all. She was smiling at us, showing her perfect white teeth.
After the first time we saw her, Sarah and I talked awhile about why we were the only ones that could see her and why we both felt so drawn to her, but came up with no logical explanation.
"Who are you?" Sarah asked the little girl.
She just shrugged.
"You don't know your own name?"
She shook her head, gestured to herself, then held up one of her cute tiny fingers.
Ok . . . I was completely confused.
"What?" I asked her.
"I think she's saying that she doesn't know her first name," Sarah guessed. "Am I right?"
The little girl smiled and nodded. I was impressed.
"How did you know that?" I asked Sarah.
She shrugged. "It just seemed that obvious to me."
"Ok." I turned back to the little girl. "So you don't know your first name. Do you know your last?"
Even Sarah found that confusing. "How do you not know your first name, but you know your last?"
The little girl just shrugged.
"Can you talk or do you just choose not to?" I asked.
She held up two fingers to me.
"I think that means the second thing you said," Sarah guessed. "That she doesn't want to talk, right?"
The little girl nodded.
"How can you always tell what she means?" I asked.
"I have a baby sister, Zak," Sarah replied. "And she can't speak yet, but I always seem to know what she wants and/or needs."
"That's true," Raylee agreed.
"Ok," I said, then turned back to the little girl. "So what's your last name?"
She just smiled at me, but in a different way this time, though I can't really explain how. I looked at Sarah and she seemed just as stumped as I was.
"What does that smile mean?" I asked her.
"I would say that's either a 'You already know what my last name is,' or a 'That's for me to know and you to find out,' smile," she replied, then turned to the little girl. "Which one is it?"
She held up one finger, then two.
"Both?" I asked.
She nodded. Then shrugged and held up two fingers.
"But probably the second one more?" Sarah asked.
"Ok, I'm confused," I said.
"Yeah, so am I," Sarah agreed. "How about we forget the last name and move on to a different subject?"
I nodded in agreement.
"Do you know why me and Zak can see you but no one else can?" Sarah asked the little girl.
She shook her head.
"Ok. Do you know why you're here?"
She shook her head again.
"Do you know anything?" I asked her.
"Besides your last name."
I was expecting her to shake her head again, but she nodded.
"Ok. Like what?"
She gestured to herself, then held up five fingers.
"She knows that she's five years old," Sarah said.
"Yeah, I got that," I said. I turned back to the little girl. "Do you know anything useful, like, who your parents are?"
"Who and where are they?"
She had that smile on her face again.
"God, I don't know why, but that smile's a little creepy," Sarah said.
I nodded in agreement. The little girl giggled, which I had to admit, was the cutest sound I've ever heard. Why do I feel so drawn to her when I don't even know her?
The little girl gestured to Sarah's guitar, then an impression of playing it. Sarah understood.
"You want me to play?" she asked.
She nodded, then gestured to her mouth and pointed at Sarah.
She shook her head. "No. I'm not going to sing."
The little girl looked at her with pleading eyes.
Sarah turned away from her. "Don't look in the eyes."
She started playing her guitar again. The little girl seemed to really like the tune that she was playing, because she started giggling and clapping. She was a real cutie.
After a little while, she waved goodbye to us, then ran out of sight.
"Wait!" I called.
Sarah and I ran to the bars of the cell, looking around the room, but couldn't see her anywhere.
"How does she disappear like that?" Sarah asked.
I shook my head. "I don't know."
"It's weird seeing you two talk to someone that none of us can see," Zack said.
We ignored him.
A second later, we heard a growling sound outside the cell and I recognized it.
"Komodo, there you are," I said. "Did you find anything?"
He became visible.
As if in response to my question, we heard a scream that came from outside the cell window.
"What did I tell ya?" Doyle said.
"Fiskerton?" Dad asked.
He backed up against the cell bars, then charged into the brick wall across from it, breaking it down. We all ran outside and into the street, each of us going different ways.
Sarah and I went down one street and noticed someone, whom I assumed was the Owlman, pounding on the door of someone's house.
"Over here!" I called to everyone.
The Owlman noticed me and ran down the street. We all ran after it.
At the end of the street, we noticed a church and the Owlman went inside it. We stopped in front of the church.
"Stand-and-flank maneuver," Dad said. "Doyle, Komodo, and Fiskerton, take the rear. Zak, Sarah, and Zack, stay here and cover the front. Drew, Raylee, and I will tight the noose until we have it trapped."
They entered the church with the animals following behind, and leaving us to stand guard.
"Better idea," Doyle said.
"I'm listening," I said.
He told us his plan, and I liked it.
Sarah and Zack didn't want to be a part of it in any way, so they stayed where my dad told them to stay and Komodo stayed with them.
Doyle and Fiskerton got the trap set in the clock tower that was apart of the church while I went to lure the Owlman out of hiding.
I ran through the chapel where the pews and altar were to get its attention, though that's where my parents were, and, of course, they noticed me.
"Zak?" Dad called.
I kept running.
The Owlman came out, hiding on a pedestal posing as a statue, and started chasing me. I ran up the stairs to the clock tower and the Owlman followed.
When I got to the top, I stopped near the window and waited for the Owlman to step on the trap. It finally did after a moment.
"Now!" I said.
Doyle and Fiskerton pulled the rope at its feet, jumping down from a ledge above, and it tied around its ankle. They kicked it hard enough to knock it out the window.
I moved out of the way just in time. The Owlman was hanging a few feet from the ground by its foot.
I gave Doyle and Fiskerton a high-five. We heard footsteps behind us, and I knew instantly that it was my parents.
"What was that, Doyle?" Dad asked.
"Beats me," he replied, clearly misunderstanding the question. "You're the brainiac on cryptids."
"Not the cryptid. That stunt you just pulled."
"That's what Zak and I call improvising. We'll give you a full recap. I like my clients to get my moneys worth."
"Oh, I'm gonna give my moneys worth."
"Doc," Mom said.
I wasn't paying that much attention to them. I was looking out the window at the Owlman and noticed something odd.
"Whoa," I said. "Guys, uh, you gotta see this."
Everyone looked out the window and saw what I was seeing.
The Owlman looked like it was shedding its skin. But it turns out that the Owlman was just a man wearing a costume. He fell to the ground, still with his mask on.
We all went down to the front of the church and gathered around the guy, including Sarah, Zack, and their family.
Doyle lifted the guy up into a sitting position and took his mask off. It was the old guy I saw my family talking to earlier.
"That's your Owlman?" Doyle asked.
"More like Foul man," I said.
"Nice." He gave me a high-five.
"The Owlman feeds at midnight," the old man said in a trance. "The Owlman feeds at midnight."
"A hoax," Dad said. "I led us all the way out here to chase some cheap hoax."
"We must've misread the Kur Stone," Mom said. "Maybe the ridge wasn't a geographic feature. I—I don't know where we went wrong."
We heard footsteps behind us coming our way and noticed the constable coming toward us. He noticed the trap and the guy.
"Ian, what have you done?" he asked the guy. "He's always been a bit eccentric, but . . ."
"Now what about the missing persons?" Mom asked him. "We'd be happy to help you—"
"No, no, no. He wouldn't have hurt anyone. It's just a sick prank for him. I beg you, we've had enough embarrassment. Please, just leave."
"Yes, of course," Dad said. "No reason for us to stay now, is there?"
"Uh, hey, this might not be the best time, but I still get paid, right?" Doyle asked.
We all glared at him.
We got all of our weapons back, and were now heading toward the airship.
"Ok, I have to ask," Sarah said. "Did none of you guys see that that guy was possessed?"
My family and I were confused.
"Uh, are you sure he was possessed?" I asked.
"With my powers, I can tell when someone is possessed," Raylee said. "And that guy was possessed."
"Well, whether he was possessed or not, we can't do anything about it," Dad said.
The conversation ended there.
We got to the airship, and we took off. Sarah and I went to the back where Zon was to check on her.
"Sorry, girl," I said, rubbing her head. "You must've been so worried about us, with the storm coming on too, huh? Poor Zon."
We were flying through some storm clouds and it was raining. I was sitting in a chair next to the window, and Sarah was sitting across from me.
I looked out the window. A flash of lightning streaked across the sky, and I could've sworn I saw something on the wing of the airship.
"Huh?" I asked.
"What's wrong?" Sarah asked me.
"I think I see something outside."
Another streak of lightning and I was looking into red eyes.
The window suddenly broke and a strong wind started to suck us out. Sarah and I were holding onto the seats for dear life. The wind was blowing stronger.
My hands started to slip and I knew I was done for. The wind pulled me outside, causing me to let go of the seat, and I went airborne.
"Zak!" Sarah called. She sounded so far away that I could barely hear her.
I was somehow able to grab the wing of the airship, but my fingers slipped and I started sliding back.
Something appeared next to me and I grabbed onto it, but when I looked up, I realized that the thing I grabbed was the foot of a bird. To be more exact, the foot of the Owlman. And this time, I'm positive that it was real.
Its whole body was covered in black feathers. It had wings, and its face look like, well, an owl's, but with red eyes, kind of like a vampire's. It picked me up with its claws.
Then something hit it from behind and it let go of me. But now I was falling to my death.
"I'm coming!" I heard Doyle say.
He flew toward me and caught me.
"I don't think that's a guy in a rubber suit," I told him. Then I noticed the Owlman coming right at us. "Look out!"
It flew into us and knocked us apart. I was falling, once again, to my death.
The airship moved below me and a small part of the roof opened up. Before I could fall into it, I noticed Doyle wrestling with the Owlman, and decided to help him.
I grabbed the claw hanging from my belt, slingshot it onto Doyle's jetpack, and pulled myself over to him.
"Whoa, whoa," he said. "What are you—"
"Tag team," I said.
He gave me a high-five.
The Owlman came at us. Doyle flew down toward the airship and it followed us. Doyle did a spin, and I held out the claw. The Owlman came close and I whacked it in the face with the claw. It tumbled down the airship.
"Nice," Doyle said.
We heard a bird call and I knew immediately that it was Zon. We saw her flying toward us. She had that carrying device under her, and Sarah was on her back.
"You grab the Owlman," I told Doyle. "I've got my own ride now."
I jumped off his back and grabbed onto the carrying device, hoisting myself up.
"You ok?" Sarah asked me.
"I will be once we deal with this creature," I replied.
I noticed the Owlman was flying toward us. Doyle flew into it, and he and it fell toward the ground, disappearing out of sight.
"Doyle!" I called.
But he was gone.
We got back inside the airship, and after telling everyone what happened, Mom and Dad landed the airship where Doyle fell.
We all exited out onto what looked like a barren desert. I looked around, but saw no sign of him.
"Are you sure this is where they fell?" I asked my parents.
"Based on their trajectory when we lost sight of them," Mom said.
We heard a sound and miniature owlmen appeared all around us, closing in. There was about thirty of them. We were surrounded.
"The eyes," I said.
They were glowing red. I grabbed the claw and activated my powers.
"Come on," I said to them. "Power versus power."
I couldn't feel any kind of connection to them, which usually meant only one thing.
"Nothing?" I said. "They're not cryptids. Mom, Dad, it's just more guys in suits."
"Uh, Zak?" Sarah said.
She pointed to both of our parents. They were unconscious and being dragged away by these fake owlmen.
"Mom! Dad! No!"
Our pets were also unconscious and being dragged away too. The only ones who were still here was me, Sarah, and Zack.
"They don't sleep," one of the fake owlmen said. "The Owlman would want them for himself."
"What?" Zack asked.
I didn't give them a chance to respond.
I extended the claw and used it to launch myself over them. Unfortunately, when I did that, I ended up landing in a pile of mud that was like quicksand.
"Ok," I said. "First one who helps me out is the last one whose butt I—"
The sand rose up to my mouth and I lost consciousness.
I woke up in some kind of chamber, half covered in mud.
Sarah and Zack were sitting on either side of me, and the fake owlmen were standing around us.
"He's awake," one of them said. "Good. The Owlman likes his prey weakling."
I stood up, ready to fight them off, and so were Sarah and Zack.
Then one of them walked over to us. "Let me, um, you know, clean him up first." I recognized the voice to be Doyle's. "No one like's a dirty Zak-erfice. Hoot."
He directed me and the twins a few feet away from them, out of earshot.
"Ok, don't freak out," Doyle said. "But I think they want the big bird to eat you guys."
"What?!" I asked.
"Shh. Relax. I'm just getting you up to speed. Now, from what I can tell, the guys in the rubber suits are some kind of Owlman cult. They serve that thing that attacked the airship. And because you guys are so special, they think he might like to, you know, pick his beck with your bones."
"That's . . . disturbing," Sarah said.
Zack nodded in agreement.
Then a thought occurred to me.
"Wait," I said. "How'd you get the suit?"
"I—" he started.
The guys in the suits looked suspiciously at us.
"Just shining the head," Doyle told them, ruffling my hair. "Hoot."
They looked away and went back to whatever it was they were doing.
Doyle pulled something out from behind his back. I got a glimpse of it and I knew what it was.
"The claw," I said.
I hadn't realized I'd lost it until now. I tried to grab it, but Doyle held it back.
"Sorry," he said. "I can't let them see you with it yet. It would ruin the plan."
"You have a plan?" I asked.
"What? You think I make everything up as I go along?"
"Well, that's what you've pretty much been doing these past couples days," Zack said.
"That is what improvising means, after all," Sarah agreed.
He told us his plan.
"Fine," Sarah said. "But for the record, I can pretend to be one of them way better than you can."
"Oh, really?" Doyle asked.
"Is that a challenge?"
"Oh, you bet it is"
I stopped them before they could continue. "Guys, this isn't the time."
"You're right," Sarah agreed. "So what do we do now?"
"We wait to do the plan."
The guys in the suits took us outside and walked us up a cliff. Doyle placed a hand on my shoulder.
"Remember the timing," he told me. "Trust me. I'll be there."
I nodded and he walked off. The rest of us walked to the edge of the cliff. I looked down and saw a big chasm with fog in it, so I, of course, couldn't see the bottom of it.
"Zak!" I heard my mom calling.
We turned and saw our family running toward us.
"Mom! Dad!" I called to them.
But most of the guys in the suits were stopping them from reaching us.
"Time to improvise," I said.
"That's never good," Sarah muttered.
She was probably right.
A couple of the guys in suits were guarding us, and I kicked them both in the chest. We made a run for it toward our family.
A few of the fake owlmen came at us, and grabbed us by our arms. We struggled to get free, but couldn't. They carried us toward the edge of the cliff and threw us into the chasm.
After falling for a few seconds, something came out of no where and grabbed us. I knew immediately that it was the Owlman. It had us in its talons and soared upward. We were now overlooking the cliff were everybody was.
My improvising didn't work, and it messed up the plan.
"Sorry, Doyle," I said.
Then the Owlman flew away from them, taking us with him.
I noticed Doyle flying after us with his jetpack, no longer wearing that rubber suit. The Owlman tried to out maneuver him, but couldn't. It flew into a cave just below the cliff and Doyle followed. It made so many turns that I was surprised Doyle was able to keep up.
It flew down one tunnel and I couldn't see Doyle anymore. Looks like he was able to lose him after all. For now.
The Owlman brought us into some kind of cavern and stopped over a big nest. It dropped us into it one at a time, starting with me (of course). I hit the side of it before finally landing on the bottom. And it hurt. It hurt even more when Zack landed on top of me. Then Sarah.
"Huh, that didn't hurt so much," she said.
"Speak for yourself," Zack muttered. "Zak and I practically broke your fall."
"Yeah, and I broke yours," I said, being squished against the ground. "Now will you both please get off me?"
"I would if Sarah would get off me first."
"Oh, sorry," she said.
She got off of us. Zack got off of me. Then he and Sarah helped me up.
"Thanks," I said.
I looked around and realized that the nest was made up of bones. Human bones. I noticed a skull near my foot.
"I'd ask if you knew a way out," I told it. "But I guess that's a pretty obvious no."
"You think?" Zack said.
I ignored him. "I guess we should start climbing."
"Yeah," Sarah agreed.
We grabbed onto parts of the nest that weren't bones and began to climb.
After we were halfway up, we heard someone's voice. "Heads up."
It was Doyle. I looked up and noticed the claw falling toward me. I grabbed it out of the air and we continued climbing.
When we finally got to the top, we noticed Doyle about ten feet in front of us, stuck behind a thorny outcrop. We ran toward him.
"Nice timing," I told him sarcastically.
"So now you care about timing?" he replied. "What happened up there? I told you I had it all planned."
"Yeah, but I improvised."
He sighed. "Yeah, I guess you did."
"Now you get how we feel when you do that," Zack said.
"Come on. There's gotta be—"
"Watch out!" Sarah said.
She pulled me back just as the Owlman appeared between us and Doyle. It turned toward him and cut away the thorns with its claws, then it advanced on him.
I slingshot the claw around its claw and held it back, then activated my powers.
"Back away, Feather Brain," I said.
I still couldn't get a connection to it. Doyle tackled the Owlman with his jetpack on, which caused it to knock into me and the three of us went airborne.
"Doyle, jump off," I told him.
"What?" he asked. "I'm not leaving you alone with—"
I swung myself around and kicked him with both feet and he fell to the ground while I landed on my feet.
The Owlman fell in its nest. I slingshot the claw at the nest, it grabbed on to a side that had a lot of bones on it, I pulled back, and dumped it all on top of the Owlman. The claw retracted itself and everyone stood beside me.
"Do you ever listen to anybody?" I asked Doyle.
"Come on," he said, ignoring my question.
"Obviously not," Sarah said.
We ran down a tunnel, hoping that it would lead us the right way to get out of here. After a while, we noticed something in the distance that seemed to have red glowing eyes. We stopped.
"It's ok," Sarah assured us. "It's Fiskerton."
The creature came into sight, and we saw that it was in fact Fiskerton. He seemed happy to see us and gave us each a hug.
Our parents appeared behind right behind him, and the animals too.
"Mom! Dad!" I said.
Mom embraced me with a hug, like she always does.
"Uh, what happened to Komodo?" Sarah asked.
I looked down at him and noticed that his eyes were red.
"Hoot," he said, which was weird.
"Yeah, don't ask," Mom said. "Let's just go."
"Wait," Dad said. "We came here to find a key to open Kur's tomb. I thought we'd fallen for a hoax, but if the Owlman is real . . ."
"I didn't see anything in his nest," I said. "But if it means getting ahead of Argost, we should go for it."
"What do you have in mind, mini-man?" Doyle asked me.
"Actually, I already have a plan," Dad said. "If anyone's interested in that sort of thing."
"You know me. Always a team player."
Dad groaned and glared at him.
He told us the plan. Everybody got ready while I went to get the Owlman's attention.
"Here birdy, birdy," I called. "Polly want a Zak-er?"
The Owlman appeared in front of me, screeching.
I ran away from it and it followed me. Good.
I ran past Mom, who was hiding behind something, then she came out and started taking pictures of the Owlman with her camera, the flash going off and blinding it.
Then Dad continued with the glow from his power glove; Sarah, Zack, and Raylee used their powers to cause quite a bright light; Doyle with a glowing stick; and Fiskerton also with a camera.
The Owlman screeched in pain.
"It's not enough light," Doyle said.
"No," Dad disagreed. "He's weakening. Keep pouring it on. Stick with the plan."
The Owlman knocked the glowing stick out of Doyle's hand. He grabbed his jetpack from off his back, aimed it, and turned it on, an even brighter light coming from the flames it was producing.
"No!" Dad said.
The Owlman screeched in pain. Then it vaporized. There was nothing left of it.
We all stared at Doyle.
"Is it—I was just trying to . . ." he faltered.
"Doyle, it was working," I told him. "You could've just waited."
The cave shook and rocks started falling from the ceiling.
"Get out. Now!" Dad said.
We all ran out of the cave just in time before it collapsed. We exited out into a chasm and climbed up the cliff.
All those fake owlmen in suits were back to normal and looked disoriented and confused as to where they were.
I noticed Lily and Charles, the kids we met earlier who were also wearing rubber suits, ran up to a woman I assumed was their mother and had a happy reunion.
"Whatever clue to Kur's tomb there may have been," Dad said. "It's gone now."
We all looked accusingly at Doyle, who looked guilty about it.
We all went back to the airship, heading home. We were in the control, then Doyle entered.
Dad stood up from his seat, approached him, and handed him a letter.
"What's this?" he asked.
"Your pay," Dad said. "We won't be needing your services anymore. When we get home, I want you to pack your things."
I was surprised by that.
"What?" I asked. "But, Dad . . ."
"Ok. Look, I messed up in the cave," Doyle said.
"You messed up?" Dad said. "How many times did you put Zak's life at risk?"
"He saved my life a few times, too," I said defensively. "Doesn't it balance out or anything?"
"Zak's fine," Doyle said. "I take chances. That's how I get things done."
"You can't take chances by putting someone else's life on the line except your own," Raylee said.
"You act like a solo mercenary," Dad told him. "And on a team, that's dangerous."
"Ok, ok. We all need a breather here," Mom said, trying to calm the situation. Doyle looked at her. "If you need anything, call me. I don't think you're the best influence on Zak right now."
"Keep the money," he said, knocking the letter out of Dad's hand. "And you can keep my stuff too. I'm leaving now. See you around, mini-man. Keep in touch . . . family."
He left the room.
"Doyle, wait!" I called.
I tried to stop him, but Dad held me back. I shook him off and followed Doyle out of the room.
The platform opened up below us and Doyle jumped out of it and flew away. I looked out after him, then noticed something down below.
"Mom, Dad," I called.
They, along with the others, appeared beside me a moment later and I gestured to the cliff down below. It had a lot of mysterious markings on it.
"There's a pattern," Dad said. "Some kind of—"
"It's a map," Mom said, then gestured to some of the markings. "There's Sumaric writing. Landmarks. The Mouth of Water. The three watchmen. And there, right in the middle, the Tomb of Kur. But there's no point of reverence. It could still be anywhere in the world."
"At least now we'll know when we're close," Dad said.
"Yeah, and we never would've found it without Doyle," I said.
"Let's get some pictures and cover it up," Dad suggested. "No sense leaving a trail for Argost."
And that's exactly what we did. Then we continued on home.
After we got back, I went to go talk to Sarah. She had gone to her room, and I found her lying on the bed, looking at the ceiling.
"Hey, Sarah," I said.
She looked at me. "Hey, Zak."
"Can I talk to you?"
"Sure." She sat up on the bed. "What do you want to talk about?"
I sat down next to her on the bed. "Listen, I'm sorry that I haven't really been spending any time with you these past few days. I'm still learning how to be a good boyfriend."
"Well, I wouldn't say neglecting your girlfriend to spend time with your long-lost uncle makes you a bad boyfriend."
I couldn't tell whether that was sarcasm or not, but I decided not to ask.
"So, you forgive me?" I asked.
"I don't know, Zak," she said. "I mean, it's reasons like this that first relationships don't last long. Earlier my twin brother asked me why I liked you, and I told him I didn't know anymore."
That hurt to hear.
"I'm really sorry," I told her.
"I can tell you are, and I forgive you. But don't do that to me again, ok?"
I smiled. "Ok. I'll try not to."
She smiled back. Then she pushed her hair behind her ears. "I've been thinking about that little girl we saw again. Who do you think she is?"
I shook my head. "I don't know. I feel like I should know her, but I don't."
Sarah nodded in agreement. "I feel the same way, and that it's up to me to protect her, but I can't. Especially since it's, apparently, so hard to follow her, even though she's so small. It's so agonizing. And the way she looked at us, it's like she knows who we are and looks up to us."
"I know. But why?"
She shook her head. "We'll find out someday. Right now, let's just focus on us."
"Ok. So what do you want to do tomorrow?"
"My mom wants me and Zack to spend tomorrow with our dad since it's Father's Day after all," Sarah said. "And you should spend it with yours."
"Yeah. But have you talked to your dad since that night?"
Sarah shook her head. "No. I'm going to try and work things out with him, and so will he."
"Well, then, good luck."
She hesitated for a moment, then leaned in and kissed me. I've really missed kissing her.
After a couple minutes, she pulled away.
"Good night," she told me with a smile.
I smiled back. "Good night."
I gave her one more kiss, then I stood up from the bed and left the room with a smile on my face.
I hope you guys liked this chapter. The Mysterious Little Girl (that's what I named her, because I couldn't think of anything else before it is revealed who she really is) appeared again, and there were more hints as to who she may be. Does that help you guys?
Please review here.
- Fiskerton Saturday
- Komodo Saturday
- Zon Saturday
- Pikachu Hollinger
- Shillow Hollinger
- Amber Hollinger
- Kimbia Hollinger
- Kika Hollinger
- Chewie Hollinger
- Toto Hollinger
- Honey Hollinger
- Argost (mentioned)