Illusions: leaving the past behind


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.
Elijah took a deep breath as he began packing up his office. Although he had been pardoned from all legal actions, he still felt guilty. Not only for hurting Gemma, but for all of the other people he helped the SAINTs take in. He also felt gratitude from being pardoned — even if he had been in the wrong at one point. He’d been given a second chance, and for that he was especially thankful.
Elijah winced in pain as he picked up some personal files and placed them in a box. His arm was still healing — it would take some time before it was back to normal. It would take some time before anything was back to normal, really.
He surveyed the room. It was filled with his co-workers packing up. Most of them were very confused as to why they had been let go so suddenly. Elijah tried to keep his head down, wanting to avoid answering any questions. But his bruised face made it hard to avoid the attention.
He was almost finished packing when he heard someone approaching his desk. He reluctantly looked up. To his surprise, it was Ava.
“Hey!” He went to shake her hand with his right arm, winced, and retracted his hand.
“Er — sorry about that, I forget sometimes that it’s in no shape to move,” he laughed awkwardly.
“That’s quite alright. I just wanted to pop by and see how you were doing,” she smiled.
“Well, I am recovering well. I am still very sore, and bruised as you can see, but I could be much worse.”
“Well I am glad so see you’re doing alright. And Gemma?”
“She has been worried sick, but as the days go on, she is calming down. James is struggling a bit, though. He is, understandably, having trouble sleeping and refuses to talk about it. He’s been crashing at my place for the past few days.”
“Well, I am glad to hear Gemma is doing alright. I hope James will begin to improve.”
“Yes, me too.” They stood in awkward silence for a few moments.
“Um — I also had another reason for stopping by. I found an article written about Wolfgang, the SAINTs and a small part about you. I thought you might like to read it,” she handed it to him, nodded and then walked away.
“Thanks,” he called out to her as she walked away. Ava nodded.
Elijah slowly opened the paper, not knowing what to expect. The article was written by Derek Ratermann in the Jonas Gazette on April 4. And it read as follows:
Local police uncover government operation after warehouse attack
Theo Wolf, a lawyer at Earnest & Wolf Law Firm, was arrested late last night. He was charged with kidnapping and assault. While further investigation may lead to more charges, law enforcement says he may have had relation to a previously unknown government operation, Specialized Agency for the Intelligent and Neurologically Talented (SAINT).
“We are still trying to piece together the events of last night,” police chief Ramirez said. “Each clue we find only broadens our spectrum of evidence to go through. It may take a while before we have answers.”
Wolf, also know as Wolfgang, has been working with SAINT for multiple years, though it is still unclear how long he has shared relation to the group. SAINT is currently under investigation as well.
A tip was sent in late last night leading to an abandoned warehouse, where Wolf and two of his associates were assaulting Elijah Beckett and James Concannon. Police were called to the scene after multiple shots were fired. The two men were later taken to the hospital for their injuries — Beckett in serious and Concannon in critical condition..
“It was a very peculiar situation,” Ramirez said. “My officers have rarely encountered a hostage situation as threatening as this one. Three young women had already done a large portion of our job in handling the three assailants.”
Investigators are continuing to search for answers about SAINT and Wolf’s history with the group. If you have any tips, please call the tip hotline 404-123-6549.
Elijah scanned through the article one more time, still in disbelief that it had actually happened. He threw the paper in the nearest recycle bin, picked up his box and walked out of the firm for the last time.