Chapter 20 - Electric Avenue
A week later, Amato was finally released from intensive care with only a slight limp. Amari’s healing skills were magic Amari, Azaria, and Kethri sat in the kitchen in their pajamas, eating cereal. Kethri was fuming over a rubik's cube while Azaria was watching some news report on the upcoming elections and Amari had found a straw and was blowing bubbles in her cereal milk. Without taking her eyes off the screen, Azaria reached over and snatched the straw away from her. Amari made a face and tried to grab the straw back, but Azaria held it just out of her reach.
“Luo nanan lorati!” Kethri yelled in frustration, slamming the Rubix Cube down on the table, causing Azaria to look at her in surprise and Amari to freeze midway through grabbing a new straw. They could almost see the steam blowing out her ears.
“What language was that?” Azaria asked. She might not know every language fluently, but she could generally recognize where the word or phrase was from.
“It’s my native language,” Kethri explained. “It just kinda slipped out. And was fairly inappropriate. I never would have gotten away with that in the temple.”
“Could you repeat that really slowly?” Amari joked, miming with her straw like she was going to write it down. “I love learning new insults that they don’t understand.”
Kethri laughed. “I’ll teach you a few later. For now, though, we should probably go get dressed. It’s almost noon...we should probably get a move on.”
Amari casted a sideways glance at Azaria. “I have never seen you in your pjs this late. Everything alright?”
“I don’t want to do anything today,” Azaria said. “I feel like I got hit by a semi.”
“Now that you mention it,” Kethri added. “You do sound a bit stuffy.”
“Probably just a cold.” Adamar walked through the door. He picked up the rubix cube and flicked it around for a minute or two before setting it back on the table, solved. Kethri scowled at him.
“Amato’s been feeling sick, too. Maybe something’s going around.”
“Doesn't feel like a normal cold.” Azaria said resting her head on the table. “The normal cold meds aren’t helping anyway.” She rubbed her nose.
Adamar looked at her, concerned. “Maybe we should do some tests then...”
Azaria shook her head. “It’s fine. It’s just a-” Before she could finish her sentence, her nose scrunched up and she sneezed then disappeared. In her place sat a very confused looking Honey Badger.
“Dhya fan jetio!” Kethri cried in surprise, falling backwards off her chair.
Amari jumped, grabbing a straw and brandishing it like a sword. “Why did you change? I thought you said no powers in the house,” she said.
“Like that’s stopped you before.” Adamar commented under his breath.
“Quiet you.” Amari said, brandishing the straw at him as if it were some deadly weapon to be feared.
Azaria seemed to regain her bearings. A moment later she was sitting in her human form again.
“I’m...not quite sure what just happened.
“Uh-oh,” Amari said, backing away slowly. “Last time this happened, she ended up as an elephant and it took Derryl weeks to fix all the damage in the living room.”
“I’m fine, really,” Azaria insisted. “I just need to get some sleep. If you need me, I’ll be in my room, but you better not need me.” She walked away. They heard a sneeze in the hallway followed by something that sounded suspiciously like a monkey, but nobody dared go out and check.
“Thank goodness Amato doesn’t have crazy magical powers,” Adamar commented. “I can’t imagine dealing with two out-of-control shapeshifters.”
By this point, Kethri had finally pulled herself off the floor. “Woah,” she said, tottering a little. “I think I stood up...too...fast...” Her words started slurring together and then she was back on the floor again.
“Great.” Adamar threw his hands up in the air. “It’s like everyone took something but forgot to share with the class.”
“I don’t think I want to share with them,” Amari said, walking over to check on Kethri.
Amato chose that moment to walk through the door. “What’s wrong with Kethri?” He asked, moving to rush over. Adamar stepped into his path, stopping him.
“I thought I told you to go to bed.” Adamar crossed his arms.
“But...” Amato said, gesturing to Kethri.
“I’m sure she’s fine.” Adamar turned Amato around by his shoulders and pushed him towards the door.
“Go back to bed.”
“I just wanted some soup!”
“I’ll bring some up to you. Amari, deal with her,” he called over his shoulder as he ushered Amato out into the foyer and towards the stairs, shutting the door behind him.
“Thanks for the help, bro.” Amari looked down at Kethri, pondering how she was going to wake up her friend. She glanced around and saw her answer hanging from the pot rack above the island. Right by her head was the large stock pot that they used for gumbo.
After dumping four trays of ice cubes into the bottom, Amari filled the pot to the brim with cold water. “I’m going to regret this later, but I don’t even care.” The she tipped the water right onto Kethri’s head.
Kethri jerked up, sputtering. “Wha’d’ya do that for?”
“Because I thought it would be funny,” Amari shrugged. “I was right.” She held out her hand and helped Kethri up, almost slipping on her water mess as she did.
Sasha had been passing by and, hearing the commotion, went to check. “What did you...?” Amari looked everywhere but at her mother. Sasha scowled and put her hands on her hips. “I just cleaned in here, so you get to deal with your own mess.”
Amari rolled her eyes. “Yes, mother.”
“Keep acting like that and I’ll make you spend the rest of the day working outside with your father.” Amari sighed and went to get a towel or three.
“While you do that, I’m going to go change,” Kethri said, shaking her arms. Her entire body was soaked through. She took a few steps, Adamar following close behind, making it through the door before swaying dangerously and passing out again. Adamar was close enough to catch her, but then he was left holding an unconscious girl.
“Well, now what do I do?” He asked himself. The closest place he could think to put her was the couch in the living room. He dumped her there, threw a blanket over her, and then went to check on the rest of the nuthouse.
Amari had finished cleaning up her mess in the kitchen and was now standing at the foot of the stairs, looking up at the ceiling. “Idiot, get down from there.” Antain, who was on the stairs, looked up to see Cael sitting in the chandelier, his legs dangling.
He folded his arms definitely over his chest. “Make me, vendejo.”
Amari rolled up the sleeves to her sleep shirt. “You asked for it, pompinara.” Before she had a chance to have a move on him, he swayed on the spot. A second later he came toppling down landing on top of her.
“Tah mah duh hwoon dahn!” she shouted, trying to disentangle herself from his unconscious limbs.
“What did you do?” Antain asked, coming down the stairs.
“Nothing!” Amari grunted.
“You sure? ‘Cause if you can make people pass out now, that would be...freaking...scary…” He missed a step and fell down the stair, landing on top of Amari and Cael, also unconscious.
“What the heck is going on?!” Adamar asked, pulling Amari out from underneath the two boys.
“Your guess is as good as mine.” she said nudging Antain with her foot. “Gas leak?”
“Don’t think so, ‘cause it would affect us too.”
“Oh please don’t go passing out on me.” Amari walked over and nudged Cael with her foot.
“Is he dead?”
“Probably not,” Adamar said.
“He looks dead,” Amari said “Can we bury him?”
“I really don’t think that’s good idea Mari…”
“It’ll be easy! There’s a spot in the forest that’ll be perfect! No one would ever look for him there! I even know where the shovel is! Hang on!” She bolted in the direction of the back door and towards the green house.
Adamar sighed, taking his glasses off and pinching the bridge of his nose. “Babysitting and not getting paid.” He sighed and looked down at the mess in front of him. “I guess I should probably fix this.” There were smelling salts down in the med lab. He made his way down, getting back up to the foyer at the same time as Amari, who was hefting a rather large shovel.
“I’m know I’m going to regret this, but why do you have a shovel?”
“To bury Cael,” she said very matter-a-factly.
“But he’s not dead,” he said exasperatedly.
Amari looked at Cael, and then the shovel, and then back at Cael. “I can fix that,” she said, swinging the shovel back baseball-style.
The door behind her opened. “Amari Michelle Jamesson!” Amari froze, turning slowly, still holding the shovel like a bat, to face her father standing there, arms folded over his chest and a disapproving look on his face. “What did I tell you about hitting people with the shovel?”
“That it’s rude and I shouldn’t do it…?” Mr. Jamesson just held out his hand. “Oh fine.” Amari handed over the shovel. “Taking away all my fun…”
Mr. Jamesson shook his head as he took in the scene. “What is going on here?” he said, motioning to the unconscious mound on the floor. “Amari, how many people did you hit before I got in here?”
“Nobody, I swear!”
“Then what happened?” Mr. Jamesson demanded. Amari and Adamar looked at each other and shrugged.
“Spontaneous nap time?” Amari suggested.
Mr. Jamesson shook his head again as he turned to Adamar. “I suspect you have a better explanation?”
“I’m sure I could...maybe...” Adamar said as we walked over to the two guys. “We’d need to wake them up first. I do not want to carry them downstairs.”
“Hang on, I got this,” Amari said, walking over them. She bent over Antain and slapped him across the face, hard enough to leave a nice red handprint on his cheek.
Antain jolted awake. “What? What’s going on?” Then he turned and groaned, holding his face and squinting from the pain.
“Amari!” Mr. Jamesson exclaimed, “What are you doing? That was uncalled for.”
“Well it was either that or kick him in the side.” Amari shrugged. “It worked, didn’t it?” She moved like she was going to do the same to Cael, but Adamar put a hand on her arm.
“Let me,” he said, kneeling down next to him. He pulled out the smelling salts he had gotten and put them under Cael’s nose.
“Hijo de mil puta!” He shouted, snapping up into a sitting position. “What did you put in that thing?”
“You don’t want to know,” Adamar said as he recapped the bottle.
“Would you idiots just shut up!” Azaria had appeared at the top of the stairs. “I was almost asleep and then I hear you guys...you guys...you...” She sneezed and turned into a tiny bird. But that certainly didn’t stop her from voicing her opinion. The angry little sparrow flapped in everyone’s faces, flitting from one to the other and chirping loudly.
“Oi Az, chill.” Antain said, batting the tiny bird out of his face. Azaria went after him but sneezed and suddenly Antain was pinned to the ground by a tiger. An unconscious tiger, as it appeared Azaria had also been affected by the outbreak of narcolepsy.
“Great!” Adamar yelled, “Not another one.”
“So, yeah, um...” Amari glanced over at her dad. “I think we’ve got this under control. You can go back to work now. Love you Dad! Bye!” She pushed him out the door and shut it behind him before flipping around and leaning against it. “Adamar? Please tell me we have this under control.
“Uh, guys? A little help here?” Antain complained breathlessly.
“Yeah, yeah. I’m coming.” Adamar said walking over to him. He grabbed Antain by the wrists and pulled him out from under the sleeping tiger.
“Dibbs on not carrying her,” Cael announced as he looked down at the sleeping Azaria tiger, “I preferred the sparrow.”
“I can do it!” Amari cried, running over. She put her arms under Azaria and lifted. “See, no problem.” Her voice wavered slightly as she strained under the weight, but she held her own.
“Show off,” Cael mumbled as Amari led the way down to the med lab.
Amari took careful steps down the stairs, realizing almost too late that walking down stairs while holding a giant cat was harder than it looked. She stumbled, almost falling.
“Why’d you have to turn into a giant cat?” she muttered under her breath. As if in reply, the sleeping cat sneezed and Amari’s hands were empty. Azaria had just disappeared. “Hold up guys!” She called, holding up her hands. “I can’t find Azaria.”
“How do you lose a big cat?” Cael asked from behind her.
Amari turned around slowly holding up her hands. “Does it look like there’s any big cat here?” She started looking at the floor around her, trying to figure out what new creature her friend had turned into now.
“Where is she?” Antain asked, taking a step toward Amari.
“Wait!” Amari cried, holding up her hands just as Antain once again collapsed, right into Amari’s arms.
“Oh, not again. Adamar do you still have those smelling salts?”
“Sure,” Adamar said, holding the salts out as he stepped forward.
“Hold on!” Amari called, “don’t step on Azaria.”
“Don’t worry,” Cael said, “I found her.” He bent down and picked up a caterpillar.
Adamar and Amari looked at Cael. “How do you know that’s her?”
Cael held the caterpillar up to his face to get a better look at it. He watched as it squirmed in his grip. “It has as much attitude as she does. How could it not be her?”
“Let me see,” Amari said, holding out one hand while still bracing Antain.
Cael looked at Amari. “How are you supposed to hold an angry wiggly caterpillar and Mr. Narcolepsy?”
“I can hold them both fine. Now had her over.”
Slowly, Cael started to hold out the hand with the caterpillar, but then pulled back suddenly. “Are you sure I can trust you?”
“I’m sure I can hit you in the face while holding both of them and still do plenty of damage! Now just hand her over before you squish her!”
“I’m not going to squish her!”
“Yes you are! Give her here! Or I’ll…”
Their yelling was suddenly stopped by Adamar yelling over them. “Hey! Both of you! You’re not helping. Now Cael, let me see my sister.” He held out his hand to Cael and added, for good measure.
Cael smiled. “That’s all you needed to say,” he said as he placed the tiny bug in Adamar’s hand with so much gentleness, it shocked Amari.
She narrowed her eyes as she looked at him, her head slightly cocked. Only a moment later, she was happy to have been watching him so closely. His eyes rolled back in his head and able to move out of the way before he also landed on top of her. But, Adamar also saw Cael go down and shoved the salts toward him before he could completely go under. Unfortunately, with Antain’s weight bearing down on her and with the movement to avoid Cael, Amari fell down the stairs with Antain on top of her.
“Ah!” she screamed, “I’m really getting tired of this!”
“I don’t know. I could get used to it.” Antain had woken up in the commotion and found himself very close to Amari’s face.
Amari grunted in disgust as she pushed him off her. “Get off, poutanas gios.”
Adamar sighed heavily as he looked at the mess below him before he continued down the stairs with Cael in tow.
“Nobody pass out again. Ok? Can we do that?” Amari asked, standing up.
“No guarantees.” Antain said, looking at Amari with a smile. “So be ready to catch me again.”
“Nope I’m just gonna let the ground catch you next time.”
Antain dramatically put a hand to his chest as if she had shot him. “Oh! How could you say that? You’re the only one I’d ever fall for,” he said with a wink, “And you’ve gotten so good at catching me.”
“Alright!” Adamar intervened, “Are you done? Can we figure out how to counter these fainting spells now?”
Everyone quieted down and peacefully let Adamar run all his tests in order to determine what was causing the fainting.
“Adamar,” Amari called out, looking up after watching the caterpillar crawl around on the metal table for the last ten minutes, “I think something is wrong with Azaria. She’s crawling around this table, but she hasn’t turned back into herself or another animal. She just keeps crawling away from my hand when I try to keep her from falling off the table.”
Cael scoffed. “Maybe she’s just trying to get away from your face.”
“Or maybe she got so tired of looking at you, this is her way to avoid looking at you.”
Cael rolled his eyes. “I think she’s just tired of hearing your shrill voice.”
“Your ridiculous hair cut.”
“Your nose in everything.”
“Your beady little eyes!” Amari said, her voice rising in volume as she stood up to face Cael.
“You being a show off!”
“Your obnoxious side comments!”
“Your loud complaints!”
“Your ridiculous pranks!”
“Your knack for hitting people!”
“Your constant need to be hit!” With this, Amari looked like she truly was going to hit him. Or possibly murder.
“Guys!” Adamar shouted, looking up from his computer. “You’re making it very hard to concentrate. Amari, what are you say about Azaria?”
Amari looked at Cael with a smug smile. “Azaria is…”
Her words we stopped suddenly by a loud squeal followed by thudding that got louder as it moved down the stairs.
Everyone ran to find Azaria sitting at the bottom of the stairs rubbing her shoulder. “Ow,” she sighed. “Wha’ ‘appened?” Her nose was even more stuffed than before. Confused, she looked around.
“I don’t-I don’t-don’t…” Then she sneezed and turned into a husky.
“Wait...if Az is out here...” Antain’s voice trailed off as everyone looked from the husky on the ground to the caterpillar still roaming the desk in ignorant bliss.
“Well no wonder that caterpillar was freaking out.” Amari said, scooping the husky up in her arms.
“And I guess now you’re just going to blame it on me, huh?” Cael said.
“Hmm...let me think about this...yes.” Amari said, glaring at him.
Cael shrugged. “Who cares? It’s an honest mistake.” He leaned against a nearby wall, “I’d like to see you do better. Afterall, you were the one that dropped her in the first place.”
Amari opened her mouth to retort, but Azaria growled and barked impatiently. Adamar took that as his cue to step in. “Ladies, ladies, let me get to work in peace - either stop fighting or take it outside.”
Cael waved his hand. “Fine by me.” Then he turned to walk back up the stairs, only to wobble off balance. He grabbed ahold of the wall immediately, trying to steady himself. Adamar grabbed him by the shoulders and directed him to sit on the table.
“You can beat the snot out of each other after I figure out what’s going on.” Adamar started poking around on his computer, doing some scans of Cael. “And somebody go get Kethri.”
“Fine.” Antain sighed.
“Wait!” Adamar called, “Antain, You’ve also shown some signs of this weird fainting thing. I think it would be better to send someone who hasn’t.” He looked at Amari. “Get Kethri.”
“Anything's better than staying here and looking at Cael’s stupid face.” Amari said, setting the still growling husky down on the table.
“Maybe if you leave that awful smell will go away.”
“Bite me, Cael.” Amari snapped.
“No thanks. I have no idea where you’ve been.” Amari just rolled her eyes and walked out of the room.
“Zycra plepa turan!” Kethri yelled just as Amari reached the top of the stairs. She poked her head into the living room to see that Kethri was not only awake again, but she had turned on the tv and was currently falling off Rainbow Road.
“Well, I see you’re well enough to play Mario Kart…” Amari said dryly from the doorway. “Hate to break up your fun, but Adamar wants you down in the lab.”
“Well Adamar can kiss my pinky toe. I have a race to win.” Amari casually walked over to the tv and unplugged it. “Hey!” Kethri cried. “What’d’ya do that for?”
“For fear of Adamar burning the house down if we keep ignoring him. I think he’s about to snap because of freaking Cael and I really don’t want to see what that looks like.”
Kethri sighed heavily. “Alright, alright. I’m coming.”
Amari led the way down the stairs. It took all of her self control not to throw something at Cael as she came through the door. “Find anything out?” she asked, pointedly looking at Adamar.
“It seems like they all have an electromagnetic wave signature resonating from the spinal cord, targeted at the claustrum,” Adamar answered, not looking up from his computer as his fingers tapped away at the keyboard.
Amari rolled her eyes. “Sorry, I don’t speak brainiac. Could you put that into English please?”
Adamar sighed and turned around. “The claustrum is the part of the brain that affects consciousness. Basically, it’s the human equivalent of an on-off switch. Electrical stimulus to that part of the brain is what is causing them to pass out.”
“So there is something wrong with your head.” Amari shot at Cael.
“Anyway,” Adamar continued. “I think it had something to do with that glove of Psychotic’s. That’s the only live energy source that all of them came into contact with recently.”
“Why did it take so long? That was over a week ago,” Cael asked.
“That is an excellent question that I will look into once I’m not living in a house of narcoleptics.”
“That’s great and all,” Kethri chimed in, “But can you fix it?”
Adamar bowed awkwardly in his chair before spinning back around to tap at his computer. “I live to serve, my lady. If I can figure out where the waves are coming from, I can cut them off there. There may be some electrical rippling in the area, but that should dissipate with time.”
Antain raised his eyebrows suspiciously. “Electrical rippling? ‘Cause that doesn’t sound ominous at all.”
Adamar just flapped his hand and continued typing. The room was awkwardly silent as he fiddled with the computer and some device that he had sitting on the table. “Cael, go stand on that x over there,” he said, pointing.
“Um...” Cael said, not sure what that was going to do. His hesitation earned him a death glare from
Adamar. “Note to self: when Adamar is in the zone, do as told,” he muttered as he moved across the room. Kethri, Antain, Amato, and Azaria also stood there in turn. Azaria had to slip in quickly after being a turtle but before turning into a ostrich that chased Cael around the room after a snide comment about her being “bird-brained.”
“Alright, everybody line up,” Adamar said after a while, holding that device he was working on.
They looked at each other cautiously. Adamar had failed to explain anything that he was doing. But he was getting that look again and so they decided it was safer to just do what he said. All but Kethri had seen him legitimately angry before. Never again.
He went down the line in rapid succession, stabbing them with the device in their arm, neck, chest,
wherever they had been hit by Psychotic’s demon glove. “Alright, you’re clear.” He said as their bodies sparked a little. “Now go to bed.” He made sure they filed out to the main house before going back to his computer to mess around with something else.
A group of young adults with superpowers team up to fight a villain from another world as well as other small villains.
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