Illusions: the final battle


Ashley Tanner

Illusions is a novella written by Nicole Schroeder and Ashley Tanner, about a girl named Gemma who has the ability to see people’s true character at a single glance. Each post in the following blog series is one chapter of Illusions.
Chapter 1 pt. 3
Elijah began to feel sicker than he already did. He was now putting Gemma in danger, again. He had to make sure that Wolfgang was unaware of her presence.
Wolfgang continued his shouting but Elijah had tuned him out. Even if they really knew anything, and they didn’t, he wouldn’t tell him.
James looked like he was on the brink of passing out, his breathing was labored and his head was hanging low.
Wolfgang knew that James had never liked him, and he reciprocated those feelings. He had always felt that Elijah was his protege, and was hoping to find out that this was all a miscommunication. That James had put him up to it, but Elijah had yet to say a word to him, even after being beaten senseless for hours.
“If you don’t start talking, I am going to half to resort to more violent means of making you talk,” he said, a dark look in his eyes.
James lifted his head, using every ounce of strength he had left.
“We won’t tell you anything,” he spat at Wolfgang.
“So he can talk? Well now you leave me no choice.”
He turned around and waved to his henchmen. They left, but came back quickly with a large box. Wolfgang opened it and looked at it’s contents.
“This is what I like to call my box of fun,” he grinned and reached inside the box and picked up something.
Elijah watched him intently, unsure of what he thought Wolfgang was capable of.
Wolfgang pulled out a black handgun. He took out the magazine, examined the bullets and popped it back in. Then, he looked at James.
“So, now that we’ve established the former methods aren’t enough to make you talk, maybe this one is. If you give me the answers I want, I will not harm you,” he said discouragingly. “But, if you don’t cooperate, each time you displease me, I will aim closer to your heart.”
James barely flinched, but Elijah was looking for a way out.
“Do you know why I am so angry? Do you understand what position you have put me in, hmm?”
As he spoke, he walked closer to James and put his hand on his cheek, forcing him to make eye contact.
“Your need to put your nose places where it does not belong has put my job at risk, and your blood on my hands. I prefer to let my men handle it,” he nodded towards his henchmen, who both had an equal stature and dark hair. The one on the right had a hefty mustache, and the one on the left had a sharp jawbone.
“All I have wanted to do is make a life for myself. It has never been my concern what SAINT does with the people, as long as I got paid,” as he spoke, he paced around the room.
“You both agreed to work for me. You could have quit the second you learned of our practice. You could have turned me in. But no, you agreed to be my faithful servant,” his voice progressively got louder.
“And then you met Gemma,” he pointed his gun at Elijah. “You promised me that she meant nothing to you, that she was just some random girl you knew in high school.”
Wolfgang turned his back to Elijah, so he took the opportunity to glance at Gemma, but she wasn’t there.
“I was so assured that you would be able to bring Gemma in, she would have been the catch of my career. But your heart got in the way. All of the feelings you had for her in high school came back. You fell in love with her. How despicable. And for that —”
Wolfgang pointed the gun at Elijah, but before he could pull the trigger something flew out from behind him, knocking the gun out of his hand. It skittered across the floor, landing just out of reach of Irene and another woman who had appeared from behind the stack of wooden crates that had hidden Gemma from sight.
He watched in horror as Gemma struggled with Wolfgang, wincing at the sickening sound of a punch connecting — he couldn’t tell who’d thrown it. Suddenly, one of the two SAINTs men ran forward, and Elijah screamed at Gemma to duck. She dodged him just in time, tripping with her foot so that he fell face first onto the concrete.
Another scuffle drew Elijah’s attention back to Irene. She and the other woman were fighting with the other SAINTs man, attempting to wrestle the gun from his hands. Suddenly, a shot rang out in the air, followed by two more. With the last shot, a sharp pain ripped through Elijah’s right arm.
“Get down on the ground!”
The two police officers ran inside, weapons drawn and pointed at the man from SAINTs and at Wolfgang. The two of them slowly sunk to their needs and raised their hands in defeat, freeing the girls to run and help the boys.
Ava followed behind, with one dark-haired female police officer. She ran toward the girls.
“Are you alright? Did they hurt you?,” she said as she neared them.
“We are fine, but Elijah was shot,” Gemma said as she ran to him, Ava following behind her. Irene went to release James, who was already being tended to by another police officer, her hair tied back in a long, dark ponytail.
In all the excitement, Elijah was barely aware of Gemma and the EMTs suddenly surrounding him. His mind was numb and fuzzy, and he couldn’t help but squint at the bright light that suddenly filled the warehouse. All he saw were the police that were escorting Wolfgang and his henchmen out, their hands cuffed behind their backs.