After leaving Dragon Valley Peter kept watch. Concern kept him awake not wanting Emit to lead him astray. Something was off about the man. At the moment he neither liked or trusted him. Maybe it was concern for his son or something much worse. What had the Watchers done to him while he had been held captive in Oasis Landing. The Watchers had taken control for a short time before Peter had been led to there for his own demise. It hadn’t worked out the way the Watchers expected but still he wondered what Emit had suffered. Emit himself never spoke about at it. Not even once in all the years Peter had been trapped in the future. “Emit what happened while the Watchers were control of Oasis Landing?”
Emit’s hands clenched around the steering wheel, knuckles turning white as he gripped it. “I….I was a prisoner….”
“I know that,” Peter turned to look out the window watching the scenery as it whizzed by. “You never talk abut it. I want to know why.”
They drove on in silence. Emit kept giving Peter small sideways glances “you think I’ve become unstable don’t you?” his voice was high, unsure not at all the self-assured man Peter had come to know and like.
“I’m concerned,” Peter glanced at him “you’re not acting rationally. It’s almost as if your looking for revenge. Is that what this is? If so stop the car right now and let me out.”
Slamming a fist into the dashboard Emit screamed “I wish it were revenge. I could handle that. You don’t know what it’s like to be at the mercy of the Watchers. The pain they can inflict. The torture. I never wanted to talk about it because I don’t want to remember….” His hands trembled causing his driving to become erratic. Stopping the car he got out gulping at the cool air “I was fine when the Watchers left abandoning Oasis Landing. You were there to keep me balanced. Keep me sane. I needed the support.” Sighing he gave up all pretenses of being in control “I still do. Especially now that the Watchers are back. I’ve never been more afraid in my life. I’m jumping at shadows. Making mistakes.”
Peter watched in silence while the blue haired man paced along the side of the road. “Are you afraid that the Watchers are torturing Chase?”
Emit stopped shoulders heaving with the rhythm of his breathing. Hands twisting into fists as he answered “yes,” he growled “I never wanted the Watchers to find him. It was my decision to leave the time lime in tact. I could have stopped it but I hoped he take me up on my offer.”
“Why exactly do you need an assistant?” Peter asked. It was mentioned before but he wanted to ask it again and this he hoped to hear the truth. Emit had wanted something from Peter the first time he was asked and would have said anything to accomplish his objective.
“I told you. I need help. Too many people are figuring out how to travel through time. The more they do the more damage they cause. I can’t be everywhere. I may have been a little melodramatic before but I do need help. Sometimes I get pulled in too many different directions. I chose the wrong crisis to work on when I should have corrected the other. If I had an assistant it would help. We could work on multiple things at the same time.”
“So it’s not that you want companionship?”
A slight smile flashed across Emit’s face “it would be nice. I did hope Chase would consider it. I’d love the chance to get to know him.” Shrugging “that may never happen now…”
“Don’t give up hope,” Peter told him “Chase needs a father as much as you need a son. Just don’t expect him to leave his wife to become your assistant. I have a feeling he’s not that kind of guy.”
Feeling slowly returned to his extremities. He flexed his fingers and toes relieved that everything seemed to be working. Lying on the cold floor his mind drifting. What was happening to Jennifer? Had she been taken? Was she being held captive somewhere within this facility? Panic knifed through him, jolting him upright.
Spots danced before his eyes as he adjusted to sitting up. Was she being tortured? He had to get out of here. He had to find her. He staggered to his feet. Stumbled to the door. Reaching a trembling hand out, reaching for the door handle. He was screaming before he even touched it. Falling to his knees the pain shrieking through him like wind through the broken window panes in an abandoned house. Falling forward onto his face he twitched on the floor unable to control the muscles in this body.
Once the pain subsided he lay panting on the floor spitting up blood. Two pairs of legs walked through the opening. He must have triggered some sort of fail safe. One of the Watchers knelt beside him “your father must really care about you. He’s coming to rescue his little boy.”
Mind reeling Chase couldn’t believe it. Why would Emit risk coming to get him? Wouldn’t he know this was a trap? Once they had Emit they would have what they need. A qualified time traveler. “No” he mumbled “he wouldn’t…”
“Oh but he is,” the Watcher pulled his head back by his hair “he cares for his halfling son. Who would have guessed he would be so prone to this human weakness?”
“No” he mumbled again whether it was from the thought that Emit might actually care about him or the thought that Emit had a weakness he didn’t know. He knew only that Emit was walking into a trap and he was powerless to stop it. What was even more disturbing was the fact Chase found himself concerned for the man’s welfare. He wouldn’t have thought it possible but he really didn’t want anything to happen to Emit, his father.
“Do you know where the Watchers have Chase?” Peter asked.
“I have the location from the other time line. Where Chase’s body was found.” Emit said “I don’t know if it will be the same but chances are it will be.”
“Sounds like a reasonable assumption,” Peter rubbed his chin thoughtfully “we need a plan…”
Emit nodded as he realized he reacting to the situation instead of defensively. For all his knew he could be walking into a trap “what do you have in mind?”
“I’m not sure yet” Peter admitted “it just seems like they made sure they took Chase in such a way to make sure you knew. They wanted you to be aware they had him. What does that mean to you?”
“They know that Chase is my son,” Emit sighed “but they already knew that otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to manipulate him before and convince him I killed his mother.”
“You’re missing the obvious,” Peter told him.
“What do you mean?” Emit asked taken aback by the accusation “what am I missing?”
Shaking his head at his old friend “they act like they know you care about him. Which means they believe you have feelings for him. The feelings a father would normally have for a son.”
“No I….” Emit stopped the protest dying on his lips, sticking in his throat. “I can’t abandon him. He’s my son. I couldn’t save his mother but I can’t lose him even if he never accepts me.”
“Precisely what the Watchers are counting on,” Peter told him “this is a trap and we’re walking right into it. May already have.”
“What can we do about it now?” Emit asked getting back into the car.
“For one, where do you think he is?” Peter asked “so fare all I’ve been is a passenger. You haven’t exactly confided in me.”
“I know. I’m sorry.” he leaned over the steering wheel “they’re in Isla Paradiso. They have an IF working for them. They’re using one of his warehouses to hold Chase in.”
A look of distaste came over Peter “Let me guess that IF is Mr. Lawrence?” Peter managed to asked in a way that said he knew the answer already “I know him and it makes sense why he’s been able to avoid my son’s efforts to round up all dangerous IFs now. He’s being protected by the Watchers.”
“I know he’s been a thorn to your family for a while” Emit spoke quietly “I’m sorry I shouldn’t have made you come with me.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Peter shrugged off his apology “you needed help. I can help. I just need you to be honest with me not a stressed out idiot.”
Chuckling bitterly Emit turned towards Peter “how do you do it? You have eight kids and you never seem flustered.”
“You’re joking right?” Peter shook his head “I don’t care how many kids a person has or how old those kids are you never stop stressing over them or wanting to keep them safe.”
“I don’t knew if that’s reassuring or frightening but I’d like to have the chance to find out.” After driving for several minutes in silence Emit asked “what do you think we should do once we get to Isla Paradiso?”
Looking sideways at him Peter asked a question of his own “how exactly are we going to get there? We can’t drive there and we’ve passed several airports that could have gotten us there.”
“Shit,” Emit cried “I wasn’t thinking.” He slammed on the brakes “we could take the portal to Isla Paradiso. It’ll be quicker and less noticeable.” Shaking his head “I wasn’t thinking I….”
“Calm down,” Peter advised “the portals will be good to get us there. What will we do once we get there?”
Cheeks flaming red Emit muttered “I was just thinking we’d bust into the warehouse and get Chase.” Looking over at Peter “see this is why I need help. I’m not thinking straight.”
“Maybe I should drive,” Peter said as a car passed them blasting their horn at them “We do want to get there in one piece.”
“You don’t know where the portals are,” Emit said rejecting the offer.
“You could give me directions….”
“I’m fine,” Emit stomped on the gas hurtling the car down the road.
Swallowing his retort Peter asked “once we get there, do you know anyone who can help us?”
“No,” he shook his head “Lawrence has plenty of enemies but they’re all too scared to stand up against him.”
“So basically all we have is each other,” Peter rubbed his whiskers wishing there was another way but he couldn’t abandon his friend or that boy. He owed Emit too much “we’ll need to scope out the warehouse to get a feel for it’s defenses before we’ll be able to do much.”
The Watchers left him crumpled on the floor barely breathing but alive. He wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or not. It meant that the Watchers would be back and his world would collapse again into a deep dark pit of pain and despair. The only thing keeping him going now was the image of Jennifer’s pretty face pleading with him not to give up. To hang on.
Tears flowed from his eyes as he thought of her and the twins. Please please don’t let them be here somewhere inside this building he prayed. He could withstand anything as long as she wasn’t being tortured or dead. He’d give his life for them. It was a revelation to him to feel that strongly for someone. What would the Watchers do if they found out? Were they more concerned with getting Emit to do their bidding? He doubted that that much. If they knew about Jennifer and the twins they would use that to their advantage. If they thought Emit would come for him how much more so would they believe Emit would come for his grandchildren. Chase knew without doubt he had to keep their existence a secret.