The beginning is here, the end is below. There’s no middle at this stage.
With Trevor unconscious, and trussed up like a Christmas turkey, they trooped down into the cellar, Kaiden and Jenna in the lead, then the mage team following with their prisoner, he was too dangerous to leave behind.
Kaiden listened, then led them to a dark corner and knelt to examine the floor.
“I think I can see where the flooring’s been re-laid.”, he headed to a part of the room set up as a simple workshop and returned with a crowbar and a shovel.
Jenna, meanwhile, ran back up to the kitchen, then returned with a camping lantern she’d noticed in a back cupboard.
The extra light showed a clear difference in the quality of the floor’s surface and Kadien set to, carefully prying up the flooring to reveal a hollow beneath.
Jenna gasped, tears coming too fast to even think of catching, “Oh Alex.”
Curled into the hollow was the perfectly preserved body of a teenage boy. Badly bruised and bloodied, he looked as if he were sleeping.
“How is he so untouched by the time he’s been down here?”
Kaiden again listened to the house, then his eyes widened.
“His mother was a life witch, his father was too powerful for her to go up against but she preserved the last spark she could before they hid his body down here.”
Kaiden looked across at the watching mage team, “I think she was hoping to use his father’s life to restore Alex, but he killed her too, and there was no one to preserve her.”
Silence fell as they all looked down at their prisoner.
The lead mage pulled out her phone, “I’m calling the boss. We can’t make a decision like this without support.”
Jenna looked at Kaiden, confused, he put an arm round her, “Alex is still just on this side of full death. If another human life can be given in rightful exchange. An exchange that’s seen as legal from our end and justified from the spirit end, we might be able to bring him back if he wants it.”
The house started shaking, Jenna moved to a wall and rested her hand on it, “It’s okay Alex, we’re here. Whatever you want to do, whatever you need, we’re here.”
Kaiden looked at the mages, “He wants to come back.”
The lead mage nodded and turned away, speaking quickly and quietly. A few minutes later, she hung up.
Tucking her phone away she took a deep breath, “We’ve been approved. Trevor’s crimes would have had him thrown to the wights at feeding time. He’s going to get a kinder death than he deserves, but The Director agrees with our priorities. He says though, that once he’s back, Alex is legally a minor, and we need to have care in place.”
Kaiden snorted, “Well that’s easy enough, he’s staying with us, either in this house or another if he’d prefer. He’s going to school and he’s going to live a normal, full happy life.”
Jenna looked around from where she was leaning on the wall, “What he said. What’s going to happen now?”
One of the other mages answered, “Kind of a siphoning of life force between the two bodies. I’ve only seen it done once before and the process is quite elaborate.”
Jenna laughed shortly, “You’d sort of want it to be.”
The mage smiled briefly, “Quite.”
She and Kaiden were politely but firmly herded back up to the kitchen with a promise to deliver Alex to them the instant the procedure was completed and sealed.
They waited. Paced, sat, stood, paced some more, hugged, paced and waited.
Finally, the cellar door opened and the lead mage emerged, helping a bewildered boy climb the stairs.
He caught sight of the two waiting for him and stumbled forward, bursting into tears. They caught him, and each other, in a fierce hug.
The rest of the team emerged, two of them quietly toting a body bag between them. They headed for the front door, smiling at the tearful meeting behind them.
The lead mage paused, and Jenna looked around, tears running down her cheeks, “Thank you. I can’t begin to explain how much this means.”
The mage bowed her head, “I’ll confirm with head office on the details and get the paperwork underway, I’m sure someone will be by with the tedious details in a few days.”
Kaiden grinned, “I’m looking forward to it.”
Alex was still too overwhelmed to speak, the mage tipped an imaginary cap, “You’ve done good work Special Agent Green, do think about us in the future when you’re looking at career options.”
With that she walked out of the front door and closed it carefully behind her.