Chapter 1: Genetics aren't so bad, after all
Los Angeles, 2049
Nathan Wallace can be a patient man. Careful, deliberate, precise, all the qualities needed in a profession such as his. Today, though, in the presence of the strange woman who appeared at the gate of his home, it took all of his willpower not to twitch, and to keep his anger in check.
“You must have the wrong house.” He insists once again.
“I assure you I am not. Shilo Wallace is listed as having this address and you have already acknowledged yourself as ‘Mr. Wallace’. Clearly I am exactly where I mean to be.”
Nathan grit his teeth at the woman’s assurity. Nevertheless, he held firm. “What’s this about?”
“I will explain my business once your daughter is present, Mr. Wallace.”
They went back and forth for another few minutes. Nathan, trying to convince the woman that Shilo was too sick to see anyone. The woman, insisting that she speak to Shilo with or without his presence, and that she had the authority to do so. Nathan couldn’t figure the woman out. The only person with true authority over his life was Rotti, but he’s never seen this woman at GeneCo before. Eventually, after much posturing on both of their ends, Nathan relented and fetched his daughter. With any hope, whatever Rotti was planning wouldn’t put any more strain on him and his family.
Of all of the things he had expected, it wasn’t this.
The strange woman, no - witch -, who had come to his house had just turned a flower vase into a mouse and back again, all with a flick of a wand. His daughter, his Marni’s precious babe, supposedly had the potential for this same, strange ability. Shilo, his sweet eleven year old girl, had become so excitable that her blood pressure spiked, requiring another dose of medication. The witch had observed the exchange with little comment, other than to retrieve a glass of water at the swish of her wand for Shilo to use for her medicine. Still… even after the episode, Shilo seemed delighted by the idea.
“Out of the question.” He said immediately, even before Shilo had opened her letter. She pouted and begged, but he couldn’t allow for this sudden revelation to take place. Even the woman, a teacher at this Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry , went at odds with him. He gave his reasons with all of the logic and authority he could muster. Her condition, her ill-knowledge of the outside world and it’s dangers, the continuing NOS epidemic, any one of those should have been good enough. Yet the vile woman had scoffed at it all. She claimed that magical people were virtually immune to NOS since ‘potions masters’ had found a cure that conveniently only work on magical people and that plenty of home-schooled children have adjusted and thrived well at the school. Worse than all of that, she claimed that a potion could be created to cure his daughter.
Nathan had been shaking with rage at that point. Yet… what could he say? He couldn’t tell the truth. He certainly couldn’t deny his daughter a chance for a cure to her face and then act like this was all one big dream. Sure, with the right drugs, perhaps it could fade from her memory… but what if the woman became suspicious? What if she simply ‘magicked’ her way into the house and took Shilo away for good? He couldn’t allow that, couldn’t bear to lose the only thing left of his precious Marni.
...so what could he do, but consent?
By the time the witch left his home, his little girl was thrilled. Her eyes, her mother’s eyes, were overflowing with tears of joy. He hated it. He loved… he loves her, but, god, how will he go on without her here?
Chapter 2: Choice
Shilo was bouncing on her seat as the train sped across the countryside. Sure, the sky was the same dreary dark smog as it was back home, and the landscape was marred with corpses, destroyed forests, and barren wastelands, but it was still new . It was her first time leaving Los Angeles. Geez, it was the first time she got to leave her house! Anything is a novelty outside of what she can see from her window or TV. She even had other kids to talk to! There were two other girls and a boy sharing the train compartment with her, all her age and all on their way to the same magical school. There was Ashley O’Neill, a freckled redhead from Arizona. Across from them were the dark-haired twins, Jeremiah and Willamina Forester, whom the train had picked up in Santa Fe. The three of them were purebloods, so they told her. Apparently it was rare these days for magical kids to be born from so-called no-maj people, as pollution and technology is diminishing magical potential in the world, but her new schoolmates assured Shilo that she wouldn’t be mistreated for her blood (and what an ironic idea that was!) Though they would probably see her as someone interesting or with a lot of potential as a witch.
She ended up learning a lot about the magical world during the train ride. She asked each of them tons of questions, and got some asked of her in return. It was sometimes difficult, what with her blood disease keeping her indoors all of the time, but she answered to the best of her ability about the technological world.
“So what house do you think you’ll all be in?” Ashley asked during a quiet moment.
Willamina was pensive on the idea. “Hmm, probably Horned Serpent.”
“Or Pukwudgie.” Jeremiah added. The twins nodded at their own personal assessments. “You?”
“I’m not too sure.” Ashley confessed. “I suppose the statues will decide for me.”
“Maybe, but if two of them react to you, you’ll have to make a choice.” Willamina considered.
“How will we know which one is the best house?” Shilo asked. “I don’t even know what the difference is between them.”
“Oh, there’s a song for it, if it’ll help.” Jeremiah piped in with a smile.
Willamina grinned at the idea. “It’s not an official song at Ilvermorny, but people have been using it for generations to teach kids about the four houses.”
“That’s cool.” Shilo smiled. “I love music!”
“Well then! Shall we make a tune, ‘Mina?” The boy twin asked with a grin.
“Gladly, my dear ‘Miah!” The girl twin replied. At the stomp of a beat, the two twins began to sing.
“I step right up to the Gordian knot
and choose to where my sort be slot.
The stones may move and be my guide
or I choose at last from what’s inside.
My mind as sharp as a serpent horn
learning the world since the day I was born.
My body springs like a wampus uncurled
where life’s a play with a stage on the world.
My heart is strong as a pukwudgie arrow
defending passion deep in my marrow.
My soul soars high on thunderbird wing
wherever I roam freedom is king.
Whichever I choose under Morrigan’s dome
I make today my own true home!”
At the final stomp of their feet, Ashley and Shilo clapped and cheered at the twins’ performance. It was a fun tune, one which Shilo took to learning for the next leg of the journey. With this in mind, she was sure an answer would come at school.
Entering Ilvermorny was like stepping into a whole other world! The school was a huge castle! A real castle, like something out of a book! All hidden away in the misty mountains of Massachusetts. It was a mass of towers and windows, guarded with stone walls and a grand entrance with a Gordian knot decorating the door and two stone figures flanking it on either side.
Shilo was already in love with this school!
As they stepped through the main entrance, the group of first year students entered a massive circular hallway. At the centre of the floor was another Gordian knot and four wooden statues looming over the symbol. Above all of this, on the next floor up, a crowd of students and teachers were watching them as they entered.
“Welcome, new students, to Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!” A teacher standing before announced. “When I call your name, you will each step onto the centre of the knot and be placed in your houses.”
One by one each student was called onto the inner circle. The twins each were chosen by the glowing jewel of the horned serpent. Ashley, meanwhile, received the raised arrow of Pukwudgie. After what felt like an eternity, Shilo stood alone as “Wallace, Shilo” was finally called.
She stepped gingerly onto the painted knot, and waited for their judgement. There was a quiet second where no statue moved. Then, at once, came the raised arrow of Pukwudgie and, to her confusion, the flap of the Thunderbird’s wings.
At this, the teacher hummed curiously. “Well then, Ms. Wallace, it appears you have a choice to make.”
A choice to make.
It was a thrilling and uncomfortable feeling all at once. This was a big moment, from what her new friends had said, and she’s never had much of a say in her life before. Whatever she picks, it will be with her for the next seven years! So… what should she do? What was it the song said, again?
“My heart is strong as a pukwudgie arrow
defending passion deep in my marrow.
My soul soars high on thunderbird wing
wherever I roam freedom is king.”
She had never made a real choice for herself in her entire life. Being here, having the opportunity to make that choice, what made her so happy about all of this was that she finally had the freedom to make that choice.
The answer was obvious.
“I choose the Thunderbird.” She nodded assuredly to the teacher. At once, a group of students above her level cheered. She looked up at them, drinking in the sounds of their approval and goodwill. This acceptance, this freedom, this opportunity for a cure, it’s everything she could ever ask for!
Whichever I choose under Morrigan’s dome
I make today my own true home!
Chapter 3: Bug and Bugging
The first month of school passed by in a blur. Classes, friends, magic , Shilo was living in a whirlwind of new experiences and was revelling in every second of it! Some things were hard to adjust to, for sure. Technology doesn’t work around magic, so it was harder to monitor her medication (plus she really missed watching TV). There was also a lot of adjusting with learning how to use magic and understand magical terms. Not to mention that flying class, while fun, tends to mess with her blood pressure, which has led to some near-fainting spells on occasion. That said, some things came easier than others. Herbology is interesting, and potions was a lot easier than she had expected compared to her other magical classes. Even better, she was miles ahead of her classmates in astronomy class from her old skywatching hobby, which really helped her feel like she wasn’t totally out of her depth when it came to her grade average. Honestly, getting accepted into this school is the best thing that could have ever happened to her!
Another advantage to being at this school is that it’s right in the middle of nature. Untouched by no-maj hands for centuries, and green everywhere! Which is why, today, she was spending her time exploring the wilderness with her friends. Her goal of the day is to find new bugs for her collection, but just exploring in general and taking in the fresh air was its own reward in a way.
Almost… almost… GOTCHA!
With a slam, her glass jar encased an emerald & copper shelled beetle she had spotted munching on a leaf of a tall plant. With the lid twisted shut, Shilo lifted her prize upward, admiring it’s metallic sheen in the sunlight.
At the sound of the unknown male voice, Shilo whipped backward with a squeak. Immediately behind her, a lanky older teen with dreadlocked hair had stooped himself just over her shoulder. The closeness of the unknown teen caused her to back away on instinct ...and promptly fall back on her rear. At her tumbling shock, the boy let out a deep cackle of laughter.
“Sorry, kid. Didn’t mean to scare you like that.” The laughing boy tried to assure. The laughter fading from his voice, he offered a hand to her to help her up. She looked at the hand, then to the boy’s amused blue eyes. She frowned a moment, annoyed that he was laughing at her when it was obviously his fault that she fell, but reluctantly took his offered hand. Once she stood upright again, with a mumbled thanks, she checked over her new beetle. Luckily the little guy was alive and well.
“So, you collecting beetles for potions?” The boy inquired.
“What? No!” Shilo gasped at the idea. “Why would I catch him just to tear him up like that?”
The older boy raised his brow at her outrage, a mild confusion on his mind. “Because that’s how you get ingredients. You have to get beetle wings somehow. ” He winked. “Which reminds me…” He step-sided past Shilo and bent down to the plant she had caught her beetle from. He inspected the plant a moment, then nodded at once before brandishing his wand. With a twist and a spell on his lips, the plant wrenched from the earth by root and stem. “Perfect!”
“What is it?” Shilo asked, her curiosity getting the better of her.
“This, my bug-catching friend, is dogbane. Better known as Indian Hemp; and, before you ask, no it’s not the fun kind of hemp. Believe me, I found that out the hard way.”
Shilo blinked at the boy. She was innocent in a lot of ways, but she had a sense that this boy was not stating things with innocent intentions. “Right. Well, I should get going.”
“Relax. I don’t bite.” The teen teased. “Actually, I’ve been meaning to talk with you awhile now.”
That remark threw her off completely. “I don’t even know you!”
The teen quirked his head at that and opened a hand to her. “Oh, right. Suppose introductions are in order, then. Friends call me G.”
“G?” She deadpanned.
“Yes ma’am.” He grinned.
“...and what about people who aren’t your friends?”
“Hey now, we can be friends.” He pushed, a feline grin on his face.
Shilo stepped back unconsciously. “We don’t have anything in common.”
“Sure we do!” The teen insisted. With a flourish, he stepped over in her direction and waved his hand wide. “For starters, we both chose Thunderbird.”
From the colour of his tie, she could see that the older boy was indeed in the same house as her. “What was your other choice?” She asked, quietly making a step to the side as she did so.
“Ah, the fierce old wampus had his teeth set on me, too. But I’m a free bird through and through, much like yourself.” He commented casually. “You’re also from a no-maj family, which is pretty interesting. I’ve always wanted to live around no-majs.”
“You do, eh?” Shilo demurred at what she assumed was a compliment. She’s had other kids in her year ask about her life with no-majs, so it wasn’t a novel statement. That said, nobody else was quite this pushy about it.
“Yes ma’am! Pureblood life is all stuffy and rule obsessed and boring. No majs are way more interesting than all that.” Again, the teen stepped closer to her, casually resting his forearm against her shoulder. “So, tell me, what’s it like in sunny old Hollywood?”
Shilo silently took in a slow breath. His closeness irritated her. That, and the silly way he addressed her home, as if forgetting that Los Angeles has been anything more than a festering, flooded island since the Tipping Point just annoyed her completely. She let out another slow breath, thinking of a way to shut the older boy up and leave her alone.
“Shilo! There you are!” Her friend Ashley shouted from a patch of tall grass.
At the sight of her friend, Shilo quickly stepped away from ‘G’ and practically hopped over to her. “Ya, sorry, I just got caught up with a beetle I was after, check it out.”
“Very nice.” The girl nodded. Ashley then looked up to G and fixed him with a narrowed gaze. “Don’t you have something better to do than to chase after first year girls?”
Shilo twitched at her friend’s gumption. Picking a fight with a boy several years older than her was bound to get her into trouble, right? Surprisingly, though, G merely rolled his eyes at Ashley. “Don’t flatter yourself, O’Neill. I prefer girls my own age, not prepubescent firsties.”
Ashley scoffed at the idea. “Sure you do.”
G shook his head again. “Whatever.” Twisting around the plant in his hand, he merely adjusted his stance and spun on his heel. “See you around, bug-girl!” With a wave of his hand, the boy walked off, leaving the two of them alone.
“He didn’t do anything to you, did he?”
“Not really. He was just being annoying.” Shilo shrugged. “Who is he, anyways?”
“His name’s Gavin Galloway. Jack Galloway’s third son.” Ashley answered. Shilo nodded her head at the information. She’s heard Ashley mention Jack Galloway before, the vice president of MACUSA or something along those lines. “The rest of his siblings are nice people. Gavin, though, I suppose you can say he’s the black sheep of the family. Drugs, low company, honestly I don’t know how anyone in his family can tolerate him. Though I’ve heard his sister say that none of them really do.”
Shilo nodded again at that. She could easily see why her friend didn’t want him around. “He did say something about wanting to live with no-majs.”
Ashley huffed at that. “I’m sure he did. Though I doubt he means nice ones like your dad.” As she said that, the two of them began to walk in the opposite direction, back to where their other friends were exploring. “If we’re lucky he’ll disappear with the no-majs after graduation and none of us will ever have to deal with him again.”
Chapter 4: The Poison Pill
Shilo adjusted her eyes to the morning light. The room she was in was flooded in the light, with a curtain of soft white sheets cascading around her bed. She blinked again, taking it all in.
This isn’t my dorm room?
She thought a moment, trying to recall the last thing she had been doing before falling asleep. Yet the last thing she could really remember was practicing the sloth grip roll in flying class.
“Good morning, Ms. Wallace!” A warm female voice boomed at her bedside. Shilo turned to the sound of the voice. Fixing her eyes on the woman, she saw that it was Mrs. Avery, the school healer. “Good to see you’re awake at last.”
Shilo blinked once again. “What happened?”
“You fainted during your flying lesson. Fortunately, Professor Ying was able to catch you before you hit the ground. Otherwise it would have been a nasty tumble at that height.”
Shilo fought from cringing at the thought. “I’m sorry I fainted. I should have been more careful.” Subconsciously, her hand wandered to her bedside. At a lack of feeling, she turned towards the nightstand and found it empty. “I suppose I should take my medicine. I’m not sure how long it’s been since I’ve had my last dose.”
She turned up to the healer, mildly surprised to see the woman’s frown. “That won’t be necessary. I’m afraid I had to confiscate your… medication.”
“But why?” A slight edge of panic leaked into her voice.
“Ms. Wallace ...what exactly are you taking those pills for, again?”
“They’re for my blood disease.” Shilo felt odd at answering this question. After all, she had already explained her condition at the start of the year. “They keep my blood pressure level and keep the disease from killing me.”
Rather than nod, the healer crossed her arms and fixed Shilo with a stare. “Is that so?”
“Yes, ma’am.” She answered simply.
“And there are no other effects it has on you. No good emotions? Giddiness? Hallucinations?”
“No.” Shilo replied solidly. Though her tone edged at offense at the idea. “Honestly, it kind of hurts to take. It always makes my stomach feel bloated, but I have to take it.”
Mrs. Avery was silent for another ten seconds or so. At last, she released a small breath. “I suppose you’re being honest with me. That said, I can’t say the same for whatever nonsense healer prescribed these to you.”
“What?” She squeaked.
“I don’t know how to tell you this, Ms. Wallace, but those pills are hardly medicine. I wouldn’t even call them drugs in the sense of the usual contraband students sneak into school aside from it’s withdrawal qualities. From what I’ve tested both of you and those pills, you appear to have poison in your bloodstream. Poison from the same ingredients that are in those pills. Furthermore, I found no trace of any blood disease in your system. Every issue I’ve found in your health can easily be traced to the active ingredients in those pills.”
Shilo sat still. Shell-shocked. No blood disease? Poison!?
“They’re… poison? ” She gasped under her breath.
“Now, now, don’t fret, dear. Once I have the dosage and withdrawal effects analyzed I can get you on track to removing this poison from your blood completely. Don’t worry, Ms. Wallace. You’ll be just fine.”
Shilo’s hands clenched against the sheets of the bed she was sitting in. “What about my dad?”
“Oh, don’t you worry about your father. I’ll write to him and explain the situation. I’m sure he’ll understand. I know it must be difficult for you, but you mustn’t put fault on your parents for this. This obscenity falls entirely on the quack of a no-maj healer that gave these to you.”
Shilo barely moved her head in answer to the healer’s assurance.
But the no-maj doctor who gave them to me IS my father.
Chapter 5: Fight or Flight
Shilo wandered Thunderbird Tower in a daze. Poison. Blood Disease. Her dad. Pills. Images and sounds of her childhood flipped through her mind like an uncomfortable set of wizard photographs. Trying to piece all of the clues together.
What am I? Why would he lie? Why would he do this to me?
Her mind drifted back to the Christmas holiday, when she had returned to Los Angeles. Her dad looked so tired. So lost without her. Yet he was so happy to have her back home that she didn’t mind spending the entirety of the holiday at home with him. No matter how hard she thought about that memory, nothing about it seemed wrong. He looked genuinely happy to have her home. They hugged for ages. He kissed her head. Whispered almost to himself at how much he missed her. It all seemed so real.
So why is he poisoning her?
As she thought about these questions, Shilo found herself wandering over to one of the tower’s many balconies. Body leaning over the stone-carved railing, Shilo looked out to the open and mountainous skyline. She could never go outside before this. Never leave her home because of the blood disease that took her mother and infected her genetics. ...At least, that’s what she was led to believe up to this point. Is that why he poisoned her? To keep her inside? Had dad been poisoning her mother, too?
Behind her, the sound of someone’s breath caught her attention. Shilo turned around, realizing that someone was lounging on one of the two benches on the balcony. The person shifted in his seat to look at the new arrival, and Shilo belated realized that the person in question was Gavin Galloway.
“Morning, Bug-girl. Trouble in paradise?” He asked casually.
“I’m just fine, thanks.” Shilo answered in a deadpanned toned.
Galloway chuckled. “Well that’s a lie. So, what is it? Assignments? Friends? Homesick?” Shilo frowned further at that, a move that caused the teen to quirk his head. “Oh! Home but not homesick, interesting!” He grinned dark and knowingly at her flinched reaction. “Well, if trouble at home is the cause, I find therapy to be a hell of a cure.” He gestured over to the bench opposite of his. “Come on, then. Step into my office and I’ll find a cure for your troubles.”
Shilo stood reluctant to his offer. She remembered what Ashley had said about Galloway all of those months ago. Then again… a black sheep of the family might just be the one person to understand her? Slowly, Shilo moved closer to the older boy and sat down on the bench.
They sat in silence for a moment. G watched the young girl, waiting for her to begin. After what could have been fifteen or twenty seconds, she still refused to talk. “...So, what trouble ails you, little Wallace?”
Shilo took a breath. There was no delicate way to put this. “I just found out that my dad’s been poisoning me my whole life.”
There was a good twelve seconds of his face twisting in expressions before Galloway answered. “Okay. I’ll bite. Why and how is he poisoning you?”
“I don’t know!” Shilo shouted. “I don’t know why! He said I was infected. That I have a blood disease. I’ve been locked in the house taking these pills my whole life because of it, but Mrs. Avery says they’re poisonous, and that I’ve never had a blood disease at all! It makes no sense!” Shilo’s breath ran ragged at the outburst. Her eyes started burning as tears poked through her ducts. Confused and afraid, Shilo curled in on herself, her head buried beneath her hands. “Why would my dad do this to me?”
As she breathed deeply in and out from that burst, Galloway took his time to respond. “Are you sure he did it on purpose?”
Shilo looked up to him. “What do you mean?”
“Well, no-majs and wizards are different, physiologically speaking. Our potions don’t always work on them, at least not without some tweaking. Maybe it’s the same in reverse?”
Shilo shook her head, tears falling down her cheek in the process. “Mrs. Avery says it was done on purpose. Whatever is in my pills is designed to make me dependent on them.”
“...Damn.” Galloway exhaled. “I know what it’s like to have controlling parents, but this one takes the cake.”
“What do I do?” Shilo asked. Though it was sort of a thinking out loud sense more than directly at Galloway.
“Well… the way I see it you have two options, and neither of them are all that pleasant.”
At this rate, any option was better than nothing. “What are they?”
“Well, there’s the direct approach. You can confront your dad about it. Likely get into a screaming match. Depending on how prepared you are you could then run off to a friend’s house or risk him going farther and locking you up for good.”
Shilo shuddered at the thought. No. She couldn’t risk getting locked up in the house again. “What’s the second option?”
“The evasive approach.” He shrugged. “Pretend that nothing’s wrong. Keep it up another six years and, once you’re seventeen and legally allowed to take your wand out of the castle, you leave home and never come back.”
Shilo clenched her hands at that. “I don’t think I can do that. Mrs. Avery says she’s going to owl my dad. She doesn’t know he’s the one making my pills.”
Galloway furrowed his brows at that. “That won’t do. Go back to the infirmary and tell her that you’ll write to him yourself.”
“But what then? I can’t go back to taking my pills. Mrs. Avery is working on getting me to stop taking them. Over the summer my dad is going to figure it out.”
Galloway sat pensive a moment, his hand stroking his chin. “Maybe we can find a way around it. Do you still have some of those pills on you?”
Shilo nodded. “I have some vials left.”
“Alright. Let’s make a plan, then. I’ll whip up a charm or a potion that looks like your pills, one that you can swallow no problem. Then, over the Summer, you can replace his pills with the fake ones. I’ll even show you how to make and palm them right so that he won’t suspect a thing.”
Shilo’s eyes went wide. “You can do that?”
Galloway smirked. “I’m taking NEWT level potions, of course I can do that.”
“Sorry, I mean, you would do all of that for me?”
“Of course.” He answered assuredly.
His expression fell flat. “Because your dad is obviously an evil prick. My dad may be a bigot and a snob, but he’d never do something this fucked up, especially to a little kid.”
Shilo felt awkward by his answer. In a way, she almost wanted to defend her dad against what Galloway was saying. Yet… honestly he has a good point. It was just… hard to think of her dad in that light.
“Alright. Let’s do it, then. Thank you, G.” She smiled slightly as the last words left her lips.
G, in turn, offered her a warm smile. “You’re very welcome, Shilo.”
While digging for information on Ilvermorny I stumbled across a trivia piece that students must leave their wand at school until they graduate at 17. Which works perfectly for this story as it explains why Shilo won't be able to make any major changes with her dad until that point.
Chapter 6: One Last Performance
Los Angeles. Her city. Her home. At least, it had been her home until she turned eleven. For the past seven years most of Shilo’s time has been spent at Ilvermorny. Learning magic and making friends. When she wasn’t there, when she was away from Ilvermorny for the summer and winter holidays, Los Angeles became her prison.
It was hard to fight the feeling. She wanted badly to walk through the hallways of her childhood home and still think of it as a home; but, every time she visited the place, the sensation of entrapment never left. Her walls were gated. Her bedroom door locked from the outside. Her father was all kind smiles and gentle eyes, all the while offering her poison in a glass.
For six long years Shilo suffered in silence. Her friends never learned the truth. Her school healer was none the wiser since she cleared her bloodstream. The only person who ever knew the full truth was a rapscallion no one has heard from in five years. In that silence, she turned to other things. She explored the natural and magical world around her before being shut in during so-called holidays, and kept true to her studies and made plans for life after school. Now, with five NEWTs under her robes and her wand legally in hand, she was ready to be as the thunderbird and fly free!
For one last time, she stepped off the Ilvermorny express and breathed in the choking air of Los Angeles. This was it. In a few days time, she will say goodbye to this city forever. Until then, she had to play these mind games for just a little while longer.
“Shilo!” The timber of her father’s voice echoed through the crowd. Shilo’s eyes roamed the crowd. Finding her father at last, Shilo plastered a serene smile on her face and walked over to her jailor.
“Hello, Sweetheart!” Her father enveloped her in a strong hug. “Oh, it’s so good to see you!”
“I missed you.” The words came out like a thick potion on her tongue.
“I missed you, too.” He smiled back. They walked over to his car, talking pleasantries all the while. Once they were inside he started the car and began the drive back to their house. “So, any word on that internship you were talking about? You asked them to set you up locally, right?”
Shilo nodded her head. “The Scamander Institute has an entomology branch in Salem, I’ll be starting there in August.”
“Salem. That’s… pretty far.” His tone edged in a way that almost made her nervous.
“Only if I was traveling by train. The woman in charge of the internship says I can have a portkey installed at the house. That way I can travel there every morning without having to leave the house.”
“Oh.” Shilo noticed her father somewhat release the tension in his shoulders. “Good. That’s great, Shi. And that’s in August, right?”
“Good. So we still have some time before you start.”
Shilo agreed and sat back into her seat. Time. Yes, that’s the idea. Give him time, space, and he won’t act rash. That’s the plan. It is all she needs to ensure that there will be no setbacks to her escape.
Chapter 7: Things You See in a Graveyard
The days were short in time and long in feeling. The smiles and conversations rolled on until her face ached with the falseness of it all. Yearning for it all to end. Yet now, tonight, Shilo was ready to leave her father’s home for good. All of her clothes and possessions have been shrunk and placed in her trunk. On her nightstand was a note of goodbye, one that she has spent ages crafting with every word she’d longed to say for the past six years. Once the note was placed, she unlocked her door and crept through the dark hallways of the house.
Her plan is simple. A contact will meet her in the city tomorrow morning with a portkey to Mexico City. From there, one of their associates will provide her a portkey to Bogota. There, she will meet with the director of her real internship and travel with him out to Santa Marta in northern Colombia. All of it will be done in a matter of hours. By this time tomorrow, she will be out of Los Angeles, out of the continent, and safe from her father’s clutches forever.
But first, she needs to say goodbye to her mother.
It took some time journeying through the tunnel that connected the house to her mother’s mausoleum, but she had all the time in the world now. On arrival, she lit her wand and approached the stone coffin. It felt silly, in a way. Shilo knew that her mother’s body isn’t actually buried here. Instead it is at home, preserved and propped on a chair in a room closed off with only a window to see through it. As a child, she had thought it was an odd hologram, like the rest of the images of her mother that haunted the house in a way that would put the Ilvermorny ghosts to shame. When she learned the truth, it only pushed her further into realizing how sick and twisted her father truly is. One day, Shilo knew, her body would have it’s own room. Preserved and displayed like the bugs from her old collection if she didn’t find a way out of this house. Still, she found herself coming to the mausoleum, both for the symbolism of her mother’s final resting place, and because it had a door to the outside world that her father can’t control.
Slowly, Shilo rested her trunk onto the ground and knelt in front of her mother’s inscription. Marni Wallace, her mother. She had died so young, all because of what he did to her.
“I wish I could have known you. Dad always says such great things about you. How kind you were. How good… I wish he had been the same to you. ...I’m sorry you weren’t able to get out. After today, I promise I’ll live life to the fullest. I’ll live every day in the sunshine, and I’ll keep you in my heart every day. I never got to know you, but I’ll never forget you. ...Goodbye, mom.”
She placed a hand to her lips, then rested her hand onto her mother’s grave. Her vows to her mother echoed in mind as she stood up and left the mausoleum. As she walked through the door, her heart skipped a beat as she spotted a figure a few steps before her. Three figures, in fact. Two women flanked the group. Their faces blank and obscured by sunglasses, and their attire entirely straightlaced in professionalism. In the middle stood an old man who was somewhat heavy set and dressed in a fancy suit. She recognized him at once. Rotti Largo, President of GeneCo.
“Oh!” Mr. Largo exclaimed as though taken off guard. “My, what a surprise. Forgive me, dear child, I didn’t expect to see you, much less out from your mother’s mausoleum.”
Shilo blinked. She was surprised to see Rotti Largo of all people, certainly; but more to that was the way he was surprised. “I was just coming to visit her. You knew my mother?”
“Of course.” He said softly. “Though I suppose your father wouldn’t mention it. Your mother and I were very close. Would you care to stay awhile? It would be nice to visit her with family.”
Against her better judgement, Shilo felt compelled to join him. After all, this was someone other than her father who actually knew her mother. When will she ever get a chance like this again? Never, that’s for sure. Together they returned to the mausoleum. Mr. Largo bowed his head as he looked at the headstone, his thoughts and prayers silent to all but him and her mother.
“It’s a shame what happened to her. She didn’t deserve to end this way.” Mr. Largo said once his silent prayers were complete. He turned to Shilo with a pleasant smile on his face. “You look so much like her. It’s funny, in a way. Before you were born, she and I had been together. Had she and Nathan never met, perhaps you would have been my daughter.”
The comment threw Shilo off. Her mom and Mr. Largo? Together? That was certainly an unusual thought. Then again, the alternative was a whole lot worse. “I think it would have been better that way.” She replied without thinking.
Mr. Largo raised his brows at that, yet it transformed into an amused smile. “Not a fan of your father, I take it?”
Shilo bit her lip. A sudden guilt weighed in her gut. Mr. Largo is an old man and clearly had loved her mother, it would be cruel to say anything more. Then again… he deserves to know the truth. That, and maybe some small and petty part of her wanted a man as powerful as Mr. Largo to know the truth.
She closed her eyes for a moment, then glanced back down at her mother’s headstone. “I think he’s the reason she died. I… he says I inherited a blood disease from her. The truth is, I’m not sick. He was poisoning me for years until the nurse at my boarding school figured it out.” She looked up to meet Rotti’s eyes. “I think he was doing the same thing to my mom before I was born. Keeping her dependent on him until it killed her, or something like that. ...I just thought you should know that. Someone ought to know.”
To her surprise, Mr. Largo’s eyes glistened while his lips quirked something of a smile. “Figured it out, eh? You’re a clever girl.” His tone was dangerous, yet the words and his smile threw her off the most.
“You knew?” She exclaimed.
“I had my suspicions.” He shook his head. “But I could never prove it. Making a claim like that would only make me seem like a jealous ex-lover. The man’s a doctor, besides. Even with all of my influence, who would believe me?”
Shilo took a step closer to the man. “I would.”
Mr. Largo looked her over carefully. Calculating. “Yes, I suppose you would.” As his eyes searched her, his gaze was then distracted by the trunk near the door. “I take it that this isn’t just a regular visit for you?”
Bashful, Shilo shook her head. “I’m leaving tonight, and never coming back.”
“A wise decision.” Mr. Largo nodded. “Though, if you have no place to go, perhaps you could stay with me for the evening? The Genetic Opera is tonight. Perhaps you could be my date?”
“I don’t know…” She had a rendezvous to get to in the morning, after all.
“Blind Mag will be there, too. She and your mother were good friends. It would be a lovely opportunity for you to meet before you go.”
To be honest, Mr. Largo already had her at “Blind Mag”. Shilo has admired the singer since she was a young child. To meet her would be the opportunity of a lifetime. That said, Shilo found herself once again gobsmacked. Her mother knew Blind Mag AND Rotti Largo? Just how much has her father been hiding from her?
“That would be wonderful! I’d be honoured to come with you, Mr. Largo.”
“Call me Rotti, please.” He beamed. “I’ll have someone arrange for a dress for you. Now, let me escort you to the Renaissance. I’m certain this will be a night you will never forget.”
So I've finished the draft for chapter 9, and it appears this will take a little longer than ten chapters. I'm aiming for 12 or 13 in total. Hopefully my usual type-happy style won't get the best of me.
Chapter 8: Sanitarium Square
Some lines are direct quotes from the movie simply because it makes the most sense to remain canon.
Shilo and Rotti Largo arrived at Sanitarium Square over a pleasant ride talking about the past, Shilo’s schooling, and her future working at the nature preserve. She kept important details obscured, of course, for the sake of the magical community. That said, the ride was short enough that the president of the GeneCo empire didn’t press too hard into the details of her life.
When they arrived, the square was in full swing with a renaissance faire-esque atmosphere. There were circus acts, vendor stalls, and people in various costumes and fancy dress milling about everywhere. It was interesting, in a way. Much like the magical community, this square was full of no-majs whom are larger than life. Her schoolmates would probably get a kick out of this place!
“Listen, you bitch!-”
Shilo’s thoughts were broken away at the sound of a group of people shouting.
“When I’m running GeneCo-” A man started, ripping apart his white shirt to reveal an array of scars on his torso.
“Oh! In your dreams!” A younger woman with an oddly frilled pink dress scoffed at the man.
“Dad loves me. They all the Pavi!” The third man exclaimed. Said man appeared to have another face stretched and locked in place over his own.
With the last man’s name revealed in third person, Shilo finally recognized the three after years away from seeing their various changes in plastic surgery. They were Luigi, Amber, and Pavi Largo, respectively. Rotti Largo’s children and heirs.
“When the geezer crooks, you will all learn to respect me!” Luigi exclaimed.
At this, Rotti Largo finally stepped in from their squabbling. “That’s enough!”
“But she-!” “But they-!”
“CHILDREN, OFF!” Rotti yelled, waving them off to be dismissed. Fortunately that seemed to do the trick, as all three adult children backed down at once. Each of them then turned and left their father to other parts of the square. So caught up was Shilo in the Largos’ little spectacle, she failed to realize that another woman had been there at the exchange. “Mag, there’s someone I’d like you to meet. A daughter of an old friend. A ghost from your past.”
At the introduction, Shilo turned to face the woman. Blind Mag, the Voice of GeneCo. Blind Mag was dressed in a deep plunging black dress and equally fashionable accessories, but what caught Shilo the most was the woman’s eyes. The irises were large and grey, shimmering with a digital gleam, a tribute to the technological advancements of GeneCo’s organ manufacturing enterprise.
Shilo was positively star-struck!
“Seeing you two stirs memories.” Rotti mused. “Mag was nineteen when your mother first introduced us. What a shame it took the three of us so long to be together at last.”
As Rotti mused on the past, Blind Mag looked between him and Shilo with a mix of concerned confusion and recognition.
“It’s nice to meet you!” Shilo greeted the opera star bashfully, hoping to ease the woman’s discomfort.
Before Mag could respond, the overhead speakers turned on with a piercing shrill. “Will the Voice of GeneCo please take the stage! Blind Mag to the stage!”
“I’m afraid that’s our cue.” Rotti spoke. “I’m sorry, my dear, I’m afraid we must go. But I’m sure you and Mag will have a chance to speak before the Opera begins.”
“I can’t wait!” Shilo beamed, turning to Blind Mag. “Good luck at the show, tonight!”
“Yes, thank you… Shilo.” Blind Mag replied with trepidation. Her eyes gleamed once again with it’s own technological magic. Shilo wondered if perhaps the singer was recording her face?
The two adults then went to the stage, with Shilo trailing behind them so that she could watch the stage with the gathering crowd. Shilo was overflowing in how star-struck she felt. She got to meet Blind Mag in person ! This was a once in a lifetime opportunity. The fact that she could meet her before tonight’s show, which was being promoted as Blind Mag’s final concert, gave it an even stronger sense of how rare this opportunity truly is. She wondered at once what Mag’s plans are after she leaves GeneCo? Perhaps, if all works out well, Shilo can find a way to visit her some time in her retirement? All of this she mused and more at the ribbon-cutting ceremony took place.
“Please don’t go.” Rotti sang aloud to both Mag and the crowd. It was clearly a show not only meant for them, but as a spectacle to emphasize how this will be Mag’s last concert.
“I must go.” Mag sang back in her beautiful soprano.
“Don’t say no.”
“I must say no.”
“Technically you belong to GeneCo.”
At that line Rotti laughed. The crowd laughed. Mag did not. Her face twitched to a frown. At once Shilo’s happy feelings turned sour. She knows that expression all too well.
“Of course I joke.” Rotti sang once again.
Mag’s face reformed back into a false smile. Another expression Shilo was familiar with. “Of course you joke.”
“You’re free to go-” “I’ve got tonight.” “-tonight.”
When the song was finished, Blind Mag was handed a large pair of scissors and used it to cut the ribbon blocking the path to the opera house. When she turned back to the cheering crowd, her eyes locked to Shilo’s. Mag’s face was panged with sadness and mourning. In Shilo’s own expression she tried to reach out to the woman, silently asking “Are you okay?” Yet, at the flip of a switch, Mag broke eye contact from Shilo, once again plastering a happy expression to the crowd as the Largo brothers called everyone to come into the opera house. Mag, along with the others, then turned to enter the venue, leaving Shilo to wonder the nature of Mag’s supposed friendship with Rotti Largo.
After the ribbon-cutting ceremony Shilo was escorted by one of Rotti’s bodyguards to an empty surgical tent. “Mr. Largo will summon you shortly.” The woman asserted before leaving to guard the entrance. At the retreat, Shilo found herself alone in the tent. She pursed her lips, thinking back on the look of Mag’s face during the stage performance. The woman looked much like how Shilo has felt the past six years, like a trapped animal forced to put on a show. In Mag’s case, that seemed to be more literal. Rotti said the two women will have an opportunity to talk before the show. Perhaps, with good discretion, she can learn the truth of the woman’s circumstance.
Shilo whipped her head to a sound coming from the back of the tent. At once, instincts from defense against the dark arts class kicked in, urging Shilo to take cover. From behind a wheeled drawer of surgical tools, Shilo peered at the back of the tent. A figure emerged, dressed in a worn fur-topped leather jacket and face obscured by long colourful hair. The figure crept in, making their way to another cabinet, rummaging through the contents and pocketing things as they saw fit. Refusing to stand by and watch this thievery take place, Shilo took out her wand and crept up to the person.
“I don’t know who you think you are,” She announced, “but you’re going to put those back and get out of here before I call the guard on you.”
“Is that so?” The figure responded in a decidedly male voice, his back still turned on her.
“It is.” She asserted.
“Well, that’s to bad, then.” His arm moved slowly across his body. Shilo tensed, dueling instincts kicking in further. If he has a gun she will have to act fast, Statute of Secrecy be damned.
At once the man turned around, readying to point a weapon at her. “ OBLIVIA-”
“Expelliarmus!” Shilo cried out. The weapon flew out of the man’s hand and into hers. She caught it with ease, realizing at once that the weapon was in fact a wand.
Both of them stood silent in shock. Shilo stared at the man, bewildered that a wizard of all people is here searching for surgical supplies. Then it clicked, the tall man’s pale and familiar face looming over hers like it did when she was a child.
“G?” She exclaimed.
G, in turn, blinked, trying to piece together the woman’s recognition. “...Shilo? Shilo Wallace?”
Both of them relaxed at the discovered familiarity. “I- what are you doing here?” Shilo asked. “No one’s heard from you in years!”
“Obviously.” G shrugged. “Evasive approach, remember? I got the hell out of there as soon as I could.”
“And you came to L.A.?” Shilo asked flatly.
G smiled mischievously. “It’s where all the action is.”
Shilo looked to the disrupted shelf with disdain. “Action meaning stealing from surgeons?”
“Only for the good stuff.” He replied. He unholstered a zydrate gun, twirling it around his finger for emphasis.
Shilo huffed with reasonable disdain. Drugs. Of course that’s what G would be doing with his life. “I see.”
“Oh, don’t give me that attitude little thunderchick. ...Though I suppose you’re more than a chick now.” His eyes roamed over her frame as a smile grew on his face. “You’ve grown quite nicely since I last saw you.”
Shilo crossed her arms over herself in a show of modesty and disgust. “Gross! I’m seventeen, G!”
“What happened to Mr. ‘I prefer girl’s my age’?” She mocked.
G looked entirely amused by her mockery. “To be fair, I was seventeen when I said that. Just because I got older doesn’t mean my taste in women have changed.”
“Most women would call it ‘reliable’.” He winked.
Shilo merely rolled her eyes. “Whatever.” She dismissed. Despite his abhorrent flirtation, Shilo did him the courtesy of returning his wand while the two of them sat across from each other to catch up on the past few years. Apparently G has turned himself from the son of a respected politician into a grave robbing drug dealer, extracting the addictive painkiller, zydrate, from corpses and selling them to surgery addicts and poor souls looking a little slice of euphoria. In a strange way, Shilo wasn’t as surprised as she should have been by his job of choice. That said, she had hoped that the teen who helped her all those years ago would have gone on to do something more useful with his life. Fortunately, though, the topic soon changed from his life to hers.
“So what about yourself?” G asked. “Managed to pull a fast one on your dad, yet?”
“I’m in the middle of it, actually.” Shilo confessed. “I’m leaving the country tomorrow morning. Though it might take awhile to get ready. My trunk is still in Rotti’s limo so I have to wait until after the opera.”
“Wait a second! You’re here with Rotti Largo? ” G queried.
“Uh-huh.” She nodded.
The wizard’s face turned from surprised to darkly amused. “Oh my. So you’ve traded your dad for a Daddy, is that it?”
Shilo narrowed her eyes at that. “Do I even want to know what you’re implying by that?”
“That depends,” he smirked, “are you his date to the opera?”
Shilo blinked, very much not liking where this line of questioning was heading. “...yes?”
His amusement was palpable at that point. “Then you really want to consider what I’m implying.”
“Absolutely not!” She exclaimed.
“Sure.” His voice lightly played, “Then, do tell, what’s your connection to ‘Rotti’ ?”
Shilo squirmed uncomfortably at his phrasing. “He knew my mom. They were together before she met my dad.”
G was trying very hard not to laugh. “Okay, let me get this straight, you’re here with the man who used to bang your mom, the man whom everyone is afraid of because he’s basically the demon king of L.A., and you think that he asked you here with pure intentions? Ha!” He barked in laughter at that. “Oh, Shilo, you never change! You’re so embarrassingly innocent! Ha!”
While he laughed, Shilo grew more red in the face. “Oh, Morgana! I thought there was something weird about him.” -and Mag , went unsaid. “Ugh, that’s just so gross!”
“Oh, you are so screwed.” G chuckled. “I mean, at least you have your wand. As long as he’s not into bondage you should be fine.”
On a whispered reflex, Shilo hit the man with a stinging hex. “Oh, grow up, G! This is serious!”
“Ow! Alright, alright.” He rubbed at his now stinging leg, still chuckling all the while. “So what’s the plan, then? If you want I can stick around, maybe grab something from his safe while you’re distracting him.”
“You’re an ass.” She muttered. Thinking on her circumstances, she gave a distraught sigh. “I should just go to the limo and run for it, but I can’t. I still need to talk to Mag.”
“Blind Mag? What for?”
“Apparently she and my mom were close. I want to make sure she’s okay before I go. Back at the stage she looked upset, and the way Rotti talked to her was pretty… worrying.”
G rolled his eyes. “Well obviously she’s worried. You know what’s happening after the show, don’t you?”
“No.” Shilo grew in concern. “What’s happening?”
“Once the show’s done she’s officially done her contract with GeneCo. Her eyes included.”
Shilo went rigid at that. “They’re going to take away her eyes? ”
“Yep, and her life, too, when you consider how Repo Men usually work.”
Shilo shuddered at the thought. “No. I can’t let that happen. She was my mom’s friend. I have to help her!”
“I wouldn’t advise it, but it’s your life.” He shrugged. “Though you should consider how your magic will affect her eyes if you try anything. You wouldn’t want them blowing up inside her skull, would you?”
Shilo looked back at him, horrified. “Morgana… Okay, I’ll try to come up with a plan, then. There’s got to be a way to help her without magic.”
“Maybe, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to try.” He paused, considering what he just said. “On second thought, it might. This is going to take a while.”
Not the reunion you expected, is it? Lol! And for those that understand the joke, yes, I totally did that seventeen comment on purpose.
It had been a half hour or so since G left Shilo alone at the tent, leaving the teenager to contemplate the situation as a whole and figure out how to best approach things with Mag. Fortunately, after the half hour of silence, the guard returned to escort her into a private room in a restaurant near the Renaissance. The room was lovely in it’s furnishings, much like the Italian restaurants of old, full of candlelight and paintings of vast vineyards. As she inspected the room, Shilo found she and the guard were not alone.
“Shilo.” Blind Mag called to her softly, a small smile graced her face. “It’s so good to see you again.”
Shilo returned her smile. “I’ve been looking forward to talking to you all night.”
“Yes. I imagine so.” Mag then looked to Rotti’s guard. “Thank you for bringing her here. If you could wait outside the room until we finish dinner. My guard will be accompanying us.” Her head nodded towards another figure, masked and carrying a large gun in their hands.
The female guard had no change in expression. “Mr. Largo insists that I remain with Miss Wallace.”
The other guard cocked their gun in answer to that. Mag, fortunately, had a kinder approach. “Yes, Though we still need the door to be guarded, is from the inside is acceptable?”
The two guards looked at each other in appraisal. The female guard then jerked her head back to Mag. “From the inside.” She nodded swiftly, then took to her post.
From there Shilo followed Mag to the secluded table. They spoke in hushed tones, so that Rotti’s guard wouldn’t be able to hear what they were saying. Within a minute a server entered the room and took their orders. When the man left, their conversation became more intimate in nature.
“I’ll admit, it was quite a shock to see you earlier.” Mag confessed. She looked to Shilo with a hint of tears in her eyes. “You have your mothers eyes and hair. It was like seeing her back to life.”
Shilo nodded. “Rotti said something similar.”
“Yet I don’t understand. I was told that you died with her.” Mag gave her a searching look. “How is it that you’ve been alive all this time without my knowing?”
Shilo winced with guilt and a hint of rage. “That’s my dad’s fault.” She answered. She explained further to Mag, covering everything from her supposed blood disease to her theories about how her mother died. Mag was horrified to say the least. Silent tears fell from her cheeks as Shilo spoke.
“Oh, you poor dear.” She pushed out of her seat and enveloped Shilo in a hug. Caught by the emotion of the moment, Shilo returned the embrace, her own tears starting to form. “This never should have happened to you. I swore to your mother that I would be present in your life. It’s my duty as your godmother, but it seems I failed in that, too.”
“My… godmother?” Shilo blinked, the words sinking in.
“Yes. Marni had asked me before you were born.” She explained. Mag let go of Shilo in order to place a hand on the teenager’s cheek. “We never had the chance to make it official through a christening, but I still held onto her wishes even after her death. Had I known, both that you are alive and what your father was doing to you, I would have ensured you came into my custody. Though it appears it’s too late to make such a thing a reality.”
“Maybe it doesn’t have to be.” Shilo pleaded. She stopped for a moment as a knock from the server interrupted them. He came in to serve their meals, then left the room once again. As they began their meal, Shilo continued quietly. “I know about the contract you have with GeneCo, but I may have a way around it. I’m leaving tomorrow for South America. Maybe you can come with me?”
Mag gave Shilo a smile that was both loving and sardonic in nature. “That it sweet of you, Shilo, but you mustn’t fret about these things. What’s done is done. I’m ready to face Rotti and let go of my bonds as I choose.”
“But he’ll kill you.”
“Yes, but it will be death on my own terms.”
Shilo felt at a loss for words. “So you’re going to just… let go of life, of a chance for freedom, just like that?
Mag placed her hand onto Shilo’s. “I know this may be hard to understand, but I’ve accepted the consequences of my actions and accept my fate.”
“...but I only just got to know you.” Shilo’s voice pleaded. Mag stopped to look at Shilo. “I know it’s hard, believe me I understand, but I’ve spent so much of my life planning to escape. Couldn’t you do the same?”
“There’s nowhere I can go where I’ll be safe.” Mag replied coolly. “Especially once I become blind again.”
Mag smiled in her own knowing way, eyes glistening in technological wisdom. “Let’s just say that I plan to have my eyes removed before the Repo Man comes to collect.”
Shilo’s face flashed with a glimmer of hope. “If they’re out, then the Repo Man won’t touch you! He’ll just take the eyes and go, right?” If not, Shilo could just use her magic to protect her! Mag won’t be hurt, they can be safe!
Mag’s smile turned sardonic once again. “No, Shilo. I’m afraid that won’t be enough. These eyes may belong to GeneCo, but I myself am a part of the contract. They will not rest until my life has ended.”
Shilo furrowed her brow. “Mag, listen, where I’m going… it’s hidden. Untraceable. I chose it for that reason. No one will find us. Not my dad, not the Repo Man, not Rotti. You’ll be safe- ”
“ Shilo. ” With a hand raised, Mag cut Shilo off from her pleas. “I know you want me to be safe. I love you for that, and I appreciate your offer, but I have made my choice. This is my final night.”
Those words crumpled Shilo’s spirit. She curled in on herself, gripping the armrest of the chair tight. “What can I do?” She pleaded. What can I do to stop this? What can I do to keep you safe? What can I do to change your mind? What can I do to-
A hand over hers stopped those questions in their tracks. Shilo looked up to Mag, her hand, her eyes, both holding her oh so gently. Her smile held such a kindness that it put Shilo’s soul at ease. Almost as if there was hope. Happiness. “You can be with me tonight. That’s all I ask.”
Shilo shivered at Mag’s voice. Her eyes welled up with tears, yet she nodded in agreement and pulled Mag close into a tight hug. They held each other for a long time; and, when they let go of each other, they told each other stories. Stories of the past, the future, stories of Marni, their friends, of operas and of places in the sun. Most of all, they shared themselves with each other, their souls exposed for only each other to see. Their entire lifetimes were shared between them, for tonight was all a lifetime would allow.
This was the hardest chapter to write. My original plan was what Shilo was thinking about about saving her after Mags eyes are removed. As I wrote it down, though, I thought about the moral dilemma of forcing a person to live when they're ready to die. I struggled with it a lot, but ultimately a friend made me realize the importance of respecting a person's decision on what happens in their life. Mag longs to make her own choices in life, and it would be wrong to take that choice away from her, even if it means not saving her life.
Chapter 11: The Nature of Business
In this chapter I have Rotti paraphrasing a line of his from a libretto of the original 2002 Repo Stage Play. Yes, it exists. If you go on the American Murder Song facebook fan group you can find it by searching the word 'libretto'. Or follow this link, if it works: https://web.archive.org/web/20030719150822/http://www.repoopera.com:80/tier_one/libretto_IE.asp
A half hour before the Genetic Opera’s beginning, Shilo stood in the centre of Rotti’s office trying her best not to squirm on the spot. His bodyguard, the one who had been with her all evening, was currently at his side whispering in his ear.
Rotti nodded two separate times, and flashed his eyes to Shilo at the end of it. “Yes, yes. Thank you. You are dismissed.” The guard nodded, did a salute, then marched out the door. Though Shilo guessed that the guard was merely waiting outside the door. Rotti then turned his attention to Shilo, a grandfatherly smile on his face. “You seem troubled. Is there something wrong?”
“No, everything’s fine.” Shilo lied.
His look became knowing, and his voice more commanding. “Oh don’t give me that. I know you haven’t been having the best evening, so just say what you need to say.”
Shilo grimaced at the order, but her magic and thunderbird nature made her bold. “I know about the contract with Mag. It’s not right what you’re going to do to her.”
He wasn’t pleased with the answer, yet also didn’t seem angry by it. He simply had a look of serious professionalism about him. “A single person’s sense of right or wrong doesn’t matter. She signed a contract. If I were to treat contracts as optional, where would it end?” He asked rhetorically. “You must be firm on these things to run a business as successful as GeneCo. You’ll understand one day.”
Shilo is quite sure she’ll never understand that lane of logic. “I guess it’s a good thing I don’t plan on ever running a business like GeneCo.”
Something in his demeanor shifted and his eye twitched. Then, suddenly, the man began to cough aggressively into a handkerchief. Despite her growing dislike of the man, Shilo walked over to him. “Are you okay?”
Rotti waved her off instead of answering, his cough continuing on. When the coughing fit finally abated he glared at the handkerchief and tucked it away. “It’s nothing. It’s over, anyways.” He seemed to growl at nothing. He then turned in his seat. His hand reached out and landed overtop a large, flat gift box. “I was planning on you wearing this to the opera. This dress was once your mother’s.” He then looked to her with a slight scowl on his face. “Though I have a suspicion you’re not interested in all that?”
He’s right on that thought. Shilo only felt mildly guilty due to her upbringing. For the most part, though, she was content with his displeasure. “I just want to say goodbye to Mag one last time before it’s all over.”
“Very well.” He said coldly. He turned his attention to a folder on the side of his desk, and spoke without looking back to her. “Her extraction will be in Room 503 after the show. You can wait for her there.”
His dismissal was palpable. Not knowing what to expect in an ‘extraction’ room, Shilo rolled her shoulders and nodded. “I’ll do that. Thank you, Rotti.” He gave no answer, but Shilo did not let the cold shoulder treatment phase her. Honestly, from what she has learned about the man these past few hours, she had expected far worse.
Room 503 was pitch black on the inside. Shilo felt around the wall, yet found no light switch nearby for her to use. The teen grumbled at that, wondering if it was some kind of sick symbolism for what they plan on doing to Mag, but let the irritation last for only a moment.
“Lumos. ” At once her wand alighted her small corner of the room. There wasn’t much she could make out beyond a blank, white floor.
Okay, that, and the sound of moaning deeper in the room. Cautiously, Shilo stepped closer to the sound. A few steps more, and she found a figure hanging upside down from the ceiling!
“Who’s there? Stay back!” The man warned.
Another step closer, and she got a better look at the man’s face. “G?” Shilo gasped.
“Shilo? Is that you?”
“It’s me.” She hopped over to him quickly. “What happened to you?”
“Amber fucking Largo happened.” He scowled. “First her dad sends me on a little mission; then, when I got here, the bitch cleaned me out of my zydrate while her goons left me hanging, literally.”
Shilo frowned at the predicament her old friend got himself in. “Don’t worry, I’ll get you out of here. Why did you even agree to helping him, anyways?”
“Seemed like a good idea at the time.” He answered. “It gave me a way in, just in case, and the old man has the money to spend.”
Shilo offered an apologetic smile. “Well I appreciate the sentiment.” She placed a cushioning spell on the ground beneath G, then severed the rope holding him up. He still landed with a thump, but at least it didn’t hurt too badly. As Shilo severed the rest of the rope she noticed another figure lying beside him. Then a cold dread overcame her as she noted the person’s colourless skin.
“Is that… a body ?” She gasped.
“Largo’s little mission.” G hissed through the pain of the ropes. “Twisted fuck I stole it from was keeping it as a souvenir. Good thing, though, the old gal’s still full of Z. I may as well get restocking.”
Shilo shivered at his callousness. She felt sorry for the person, even if they are dead. Though a nagging thought wondered at why Rotti would want a body brought up to this room? Another overdue person to be extracted? But the person’s dead. The organs won’t have any value to him now. Curious at the unusual circumstance, Shilo shifted her wand from where she had been untying G and looked over at the person’s face.
“Oh my God!” She flinched back in shock, her wand clattered on the floor.
“What’s wrong?” G shouted in worry.
“THAT’S MY MOM!” She shrieked.
“What? ” G turned to look at the body. “Oh, fuck.”
“What the hell! You- you stole my mom! ”
“I didn’t know!” He bit back in defense.
“You were going to… why… Morgana, what the hell is wrong with all of you?” Shilo turned away from the scene completely, trying desperately to keep the image out of her head.
Behind her, G wormed out of the last of the binds and released the wand strapped to his side. He commanded a Lumos maxima on the room, and found the electric light switch quick so that he could hide his wand again. With the lights back on, he looked about the room. With a better look at the body he could start to see the resemblance between the corpse and the young witch. Much as he already knew that the guy keeping the body on display was a sick fuck, this little revelation made it all the more obvious at how twisted he really is. The dude is poisoning his kid and has her mom propped up like a necro’s favourite sex doll? Yeesh! The guy has issues.
He then looked to the girl cowering away from the sight. With a sigh he walked over to her. “Listen, kid, I’m sorry, okay? I didn’t know who she was.”
“Just go away.” The girl pled, defeated.
G huffed slowly through his nose. “Okay.” He accepted. “I’ll… I’ll be around if you need me.” The girl didn’t answer him, but he took it anyways and stepped out the door. He pondered as he strolled through the hallway. Despite the shit he usually deals with -graveyards, desperate druggies and all that- he couldn’t help but feel bad for Shilo. He remembered how nice and sweet she was as a little thunderchick, even with all of the fucked up shit she had to deal with. Now, after all this shit with her dad, people are still trying to fuck with her. Life’s not fair. It would be stupid to argue different ...yet G couldn’t help but feel a small urge to even the score in the thunderchick’s favour.
Besides, the Largos have their own debt to pay him after that little stunt.
Shilo wasn’t sure how long she’s sat here, curled in a fetal position against a wall in Room 503. She couldn’t bear to turn around. To see her mother’s body lying there, open and exposed, brought here by G, her friend. No. Brought here at the request of Rotti Largo. What kind of sick game is he playing at, bring her mother here? He told her to wait for them here. To wait here with her mother’s corpse. Mag, poor Mag, the last thing he wants her to see before going blind is her mother’s body on display! What the actual fuck is wrong with him?
In anger, Shilo finally collected herself and stood from the position. Slowly, with much hesitation, Shilo finally turned to look around the room. If she is to be honest with herself, this room isn’t what she expected for an extraction room. In fact, there’s hardly anything in the room at all! If Shilo didn’t know better… no, she knows better. This isn’t an extraction room. Rotti lied to her. He led her into this room on purpose, knowing that G and her mother would be here for her to find. The anger roiled inside Shilo like boiling oil. That bastard. That absolute fucking bastard!
Shilo’s head snapped to the door. The door was opening slowly. In a flash, Shilo ran, taking cover behind a table. She glanced carefully while keeping her body obscured. A figure with heavy footsteps approached. The person was tall and cloaked in black from head to toe, with their eyes obscured by glass. Shilo shuddered as she recognized the figure, a Repo Man!
The witch watched carefully as the Repo Man’s steps slowed. He glanced down at the centre of the room, seeing her mother’s body laying there. He walked closer, and kneeled down beside the dead woman’s face. Then, slowly, his hand reached out. His fingers brushed against her mother’s cheek, almost lovingly. Then the finger grazed down her face, down her neck, finally resting just above the hemline of her funeral gown. The sight twisted Shilo’s stomach into a cold dread of disgust. She knows that Repo Men are cold, merciless killers, but to touch a dead woman like that? What else will he do now that he’s here? No, she won’t stand for it!
Shilo leapt from her hiding spot and faced the Repo Man head on. “ Sagitta fulgur! ” A shot of blue lightning speared from her wand and struck the man so hard he launched across the room, crashing against the wall. The magical electric surge coursed through his repo uniform, short circuiting the lights in his vizor. The man cried out in pain. Still shuddering from the pain, he reached up and pulled off his helmet.
Shilo waited as this action took place, wanting nothing more than to hex the revolting man right in his twisted face. With a thud, the helmet fell from the man’s hands onto the floor. With a thud, Shilo’s heart lodged in her throat.
The Repo Man -no- her father turned his head slowly up, wincing and blinking up at the figure that struck him. “Sh-shilo? Shilo! What are you doing here? You’re supposed to be home!”
Home? Oh, he hasn’t seen the letter yet. Shilo would have felt uncomfortable by his lack of knowledge, but the woman was far too disturbed by the reality of the full situation to think too long on that.
“You’re a Repo Man.” She said in shock. Then her voice dipped, an acidic curl twisted in her core. “Just when I thought you couldn’t sink any lower.”
“Shilo!” He sputtered. “It’s not what you think. Please, let me explain.”
“Explain? ” She shouted. “I already know my whole life is a lie, why would I believe anything else you say to me!”
“What are you talking about, Precious?” He asked in a sweet tone, the kind he uses whenever he tries to gaslight her. He struggled to his feet, trying to move towards her.
Shilo shook in disgust that he would still use that tone on her. This man, this abusive, murderous -Oh God, Mag! He’s the Repo Man going to extract Mag. Oh, God! Oh, Morgana! Oh, Morrigan! Oh no, no, no, no, no, no!
Overhead, a light suddenly switched on above them. A projection went off and fired against the wall. The projection was showing a stage, the opera stage. On the stage lay Mag. Blood flowed from her eyes -at least, where her eyes used to be- and from her midsection. She was lying overtop a fence, it’s jagged points running through her midsection. Shilo knew it in an instant, Mag is already dead.
“You!” She shooked, magic pooling in her core. “You son of a bitch! After everything you’ve done, the one person in this town who actually cared about me, you killed her!”
Her father, who had previously looked to the screen in shock, suddenly turned to Shilo with fear. “Shilo, please, it’s not what you think! I didn’t-”
“FERRUM VENTI!” At the slash of her wand, a sweeping wind cut into her horrid excuse for a father. He tried to dodge the blast, but still managed to get a deep slice into his arm. Blood sprayed across the walls and floor, thankful away from her mother’s body. In a snap decision, Shilo refrained from attacking him further. She’s hours away from freedom from this sick son of a bitch. There’s no point in killing him and landing herself in prison. He’s not worth it.
That decided, she spun on her heel and walked out the door. The cries of “Shilo! Wait!” blatantly ignored as she marched out the door and out of his life.
The spells in this chapter are made up Latin from google translate.
Sagitta fulgur translates to "arrow of lightning"
Ferrum venti translates to "wind blade". Inuyasha would love that one.
Chapter 13: All Debts Are Paid
The final chapter! Considering the length of the original scene, this chapter, too, is quite long. It's about three times longer than all of the other chapters, in fact! Also, some parts are direct quotes from the movie, which is understandable given the nature of the no-maj characters.
So infuriated was Shilo as she marched through the halls of GeneCo, that she failed to realize that her body was taking her to the backstage area of the opera. When she arrived, she couldn’t even be bothered to be annoyed by the mistaken arrival.
I did promise Mag one last goodbye.
She walked passed the stagehands and moved onto the snow-laden stage. Peripherally, she noted that Rotti and his sons to also be on the stage, but she ignored them and walked over to the prone body of her godmother. Blood dripped from her midsection and down her face. Her face was frozen in an expression of shock, but there was nothing to be shown from her empty eye sockets. Further down Mag’s body, Shilo was able to spot her eyes at last, each of them pierced on Mag’s elongated false fingernails. Shilo could easily surmise now what Mag had meant by having her eyes removed ahead of time. In an odd urge of madness, Shilo couldn’t help but smile at the thought. Blind Mag, she was a true performer to the end.
“Shilo.” The commanding voice of Rotti Largo appeared at her side.
Her smile turned sour at once. Shilo turned to the man, speaking to him in a dispassionate voice. “It’s just business, right?”
The man huffed and scowled at her. “She had it coming.”
“Sure she did.” She dismissed.
“Rr-argh! ” A grunt of pain rumbled through the backstage area. Shilo and the Largos turned to the sound as a repo man was thrown onto the stage, clutching at an open wound on his throat. Then, Nathan Wallace limped onto the stage, hand pressing down on the cut on his arm. Another repo man ran in from behind him, but Nathan turned at once, removing his hand to swipe at the other repo man with a scalpel in hand. The repo man was pierced in the chest and fell to the ground. A cold fury swept through Shilo as her father walked further onto the stage. He and Luigi Largo entered something of an alpha-like staredown as the former walked passed, daring the man to try anything. Unfortunately for the Repo Man, the moment his back was turned, Luigi stepped forward and plunged a knife into his back. Despite the violence before her, Shilo only stood and watched it unfold.
Unbeknownst to her, Rotti watched her reaction as this violence took place. “You say you don’t believe in how we do business, but you certainly have the potential to thrive in it.”
“More than I can say for Amber.” Luigi boasted to his father.
Rotti huffed. “More than I can say for you- ”
“What?” Luigi fired back.
“-or your just-as-worthless brother.” Rotti finished. Pavi groaned in dismay at his father’s statement.
What a loving family. Shilo noted dully. She looked down at her father writhing and bleeding on the floor. Feelings of guilt and gladness mixed into her at the sight. I suppose I’m one to talk about families.
“Potential or not, he should be arrested for what he’s done, not killed.”
“Shilo?” Her father gasped in shock.
“There’s plenty of death to go around.” Rotti scoffed. “For the truth is that I am terminally ill!” Just as he made that statement, the curtains drew back, exposing the scene to the audience beyond. Hearing the exclamation from the GeneCo president, the audience gasped in shock. His sons, though, gave no reaction of shock. “I’m dying, you idiots!”
Luigi and Pavi then came to their senses. “Please don’t say you’re dying, Father!”
“So I planned my perfect end.” Rotti sang out to the audience.
“A tale befitting any opera!” His sons added in their own vocals.
Is he for real? Shilo thought in bewilderment. What kind of weirdo sings about his death?
“An ending only I could spin!” Rotti grinned.
“Ending you will be my pleasure.” Nathan growled at Rotti. Shilo’s spine chilled at the sound. Her father’s voice held a sudden darkness to it that Shilo has never heard before.
“Hold your tongue, you cheap imposter!” Rotti called back. He then turned back to the audience with the charm of an orator. “You see before you the image of your worst fears. A Repo Man gone rogue! A murderer of the innocent and a heart so wicked it goes beyond imagining!” Rotti’s body half-turned to centre-stage. “Shilo, the time has come to set things right. Now, for all the world to see, tell him the words you’ve longed to say. Expose your father for the fraud that he is!”
Shilo froze at the slew of commands and proclamations. Expose him for the world to see? She looked down at her father. Anger, confusion, and pain riddled his face in turns. She looked back at Rotti, a wicked smile on his face. He’s using her to get to her father, she understands that now. They both loved her mother, and her father killed her in the end. Of course Rotti hates her father for it. That said, another voice pointed out the obvious that Rotti is his own sort of evil. He may not have been the one to physically steal her mother’s corpse or kill Mag, but he certainly made the orders for them to happen. Shilo looked back down on her father. The fight within her against Rotti abated. Rotti may be his own evil, but the true criminal of her life was before her on the ground.
“Dad…” Her body trembled a moment. She had poured her heart and soul into that letter on her nightstand. That letter will never be read, though. Either her father will go to jail, or he will die on this stage from his wounds. She hated that her plan has gone so astray. That said, she took a breath and forced herself to abridge her words into a meld of what she had written and what she has experienced tonight. “Since the day I was born, my life has been a lie. For eleven years I was everything you wanted. An obedient, naive little girl, forced to stay indoors at all times because of a blood disease you said I inherited from mom. I stayed there, in that house -day in and day out- while you went to work as a so-called doctor, blindly believing that I will be free one day because you were working to find me a cure.
“Then I found out the truth. I know that those pills are poison, dad. I’ve known you’ve been poisoning me since I was eleven.” A smattering of gasps flew across the audience. Her father’s eyes shot wide.
“I’m so sorry, Shi-”
“NO! I’m not done yet and you don’t get to say a damn thing until I am!” She shouted angrily. The wand still in her hand sparked dangerously. Her father, sensibly, shut his mouth. She shuddered in another breath and continued. “What you don’t know is that I haven’t been taking those pills since then.” As if to prove the point, Shilo used her free hand to remove the wig from her head. Beneath it, was a hair net, which she also removed to show a crop of short, black hair. “I have spent the past 6 summers pretending to take your accursed pills, pretending that my own flesh and blood actually cared for me.
“While I’m at it, yes, I know that you killed mom.” More gasps echoed through the hallway. “I’d have to be blind to not get the connection of why I supposedly inherited a disease from mom when you actually caused it. Though while I don’t get why Rotti thought it was a good idea to steal her corpse-” more gasps and whispers emerged “it doesn’t change the fact that you killed her and had her body on display for seventeen years.
“And now, after all of that, I find out that you’re a repo man. That you aren’t even a doctor. Just a cold-blooded killer. Frankly, I finally get how someone like you can kill mom and keep me locked up like that.” Her eyes then turned to the side, to the fence. “And Mag. She was mom’s best friend. My godmother, who didn’t even know that I was ALIVE until today. You kept her from me. You kept me from the world. If it wasn’t for my magi- for my professors, I would have never known about any of this. I’d still be locked up in your house as the weak little girl you’ve always wanted me to be.” She looked to him with fire in her eyes. “...But it’s over now. After tonight I’m leaving the country and never coming back. I’ll disappear from your life forever, like magic.” She said her final word with a knowing glint in her eye. Her father caught on easily to her meaning, to his own dismay; but, as far as the world was concerned, there was nothing to the statement but a teen’s mere satisfaction. Not a single other no-maj would be the wiser.
“Shilo.” Nathan muttered at a loss for words.
“Beautifully said, Shilo.” Rotti said with a performer’s joy.
“Oh, don’t start with me.” Shilo snapped. “You have your own crimes to deal with. He works for you, after all.”
Rotti’s face twitched into a scowl. “As a repo man, he did. But the man’s gone rogue.” Rotti assured. “It also doesn’t change that he was a murderer from the start. Your mother was merely his first victim, and you would have been one, too, eventually.”
"I'd never!" Her father insisted.
Shilo merely huffed at the repetition. “Whatever, I’m done with all of this. With all of you.” She turned around and began walking off the stage.
“Don’t you want your revenge?” Rotti yelled across the stage. Shilo turned to dismiss him once again, but stopped short upon seeing a gun in Rotti’s hand.
“You would really have me kill my own father on live television? He may be a monster, but I’m not stupid. I’d go to prison for sure.”
“Oh?” Rotti chuckled darkly. “I doubt anyone would dare lay a hand on the heir to GeneCo.”
“The WHAT? Luigi shouted.
“Excuse me?” Shilo blinked in confusion.
“She is-a no heir!” Pavi shouted.
“Oh, but she can be if she’s smart about it.” Rotti stated. With his free hand, he revealed a rolled up document from his pocket, unfurled just enough to show that it is a Will and Testament. “All I have to do is sign the paper, all you have to do is pull the trigger. You get your revenge, and GeneCo gets an heir who won’t destroy the company out of sheer malice and stupidity.”
“This is bullshit!” Luigi explained. “I get why you wouldn’t bother with that coked up bitch, but you would throw your own sons aside for some brat that came out of Wallace’s ballsack?”
“As opposed to what, you? A knife-wielding child who throws a tantrum at ever slight? Pavi? A vain brat so afraid of skin grafts that he’ll cover his face with the face of his victims instead of using the marvels of surgery our company provides?” Rotti then looked past Shilo. Shilo noticed, peripherally, that a female figure walked in at that moment. Shilo then stepped back in alarm. The woman has no skin over her face! “Or you, with your primadonna obsessions and selfish addictions. You had so much potential, Amber. But look at you now. You aren’t my children. You’re monsters!”
Everyone stared at Rotti with baited breath. To hear him say these things out loud, in front of the entire world, was simply unimaginable. “And then there’s you, Shilo. You’re a smart girl. You’ve overcome every obstacle thrown at you. Yet you would squander all that I offer you, for what? To play with animals at a nature park? Heh!” He gruffed in disgust.
“No.” Shilo answered simply. “I do it for freedom.”
Rotti roared at her defiance. “Useless. All of you!” The man stumbled two steps forward and began to cough. The man nearly doubled over at the ferocity of the coughs. With a shudder, he faced the crowd before them, a look of disgust and rage over his face. “When I go, GeneCo will crumble.” He insisted. The barrage of coughs commenced again. Despite the raging attack on his lungs, none of his children stepped forward to help him. After all that he’s said, why would they? So the coughs continued. Then, as suddenly as it came, the coughs ended ...and Rotti Largo toppled to the ground.
A smattering of whispers came about the audience. Nobody quite knew what to do in that moment. On stage, however, Luigi marched over to his father in determination. He paused a moment, and looked at his father’s face. From Shilo’s perspective, she thought that the man was blinking back tears as silent words were muttered to the man. Then Luigi bent down and picked up the Will from his father’s hand and unfurled it. As he looked it over, his eyes went wide.
“THE BASTARD ALREADY SIGNED IT!”
“What!” Amber shrieked. She, too, marched across the stage to where her brother stood. The audience gasped at the announcement.
“What’s it say?” Someone in the audience asked.
“Read it out!” Shouted another. Soon half the audience were chanting the demand to ‘read it out’.
Luigi began to read it, though from the shouts of the crowd, the start of the statement was obscured. “...therefore I hereby state that my shares of GeneCo and personal wealth be given in equal proportion to Shilo Wallace and… who the fuck’s Gavin Galloway?”
“That will be me.”
Every person in the opera house turned at once to an amplified voice coming from up in the rafters. Then, suddenly, the lights flashed to darkness. On a crack of thunder and a flash of light, a man suddenly appeared before the audience. Half of the group jaw-dropped at the sudden apparition, the other half whooped or applauded at the seemingly magical entry. The man -tall, pale, and dressed in rich finery- bowed before the audience with a cat-like grin.
“G?” Shilo gasped.
“And who the fuck are you?” Luigi asked.
“You!” Amber shouted. “He’s the graverobber that sells me Z!”
That offered a new collection of gasps and whispers. Though that could have been both from the reveal of his identity, or Amber’s admission to the popular rumour of her surgery addiction.
“That I am.” G said without a missed beat. “The only person on this stage who hasn’t disappointed your dear old dad. In fact, Rotti’s been so pleased with all that I’ve done for him, that I’m not surprised he included me in the will. How generous of him! Though it seems I’m sharing his little empire with the young lady here.” He nodded to Shilo with a wink.
“What did you do?” Shilo asked in scolding exasperation.
“Why, Miss Wallace, you should know it’s impolite to ask a magician how he does his tricks.” He smirked.
Oh Morrigan, he didn’t!
“Now, as the new joint holder of GeneCo, I happily announce to you all that changes will be made to the company-” Before he could finish, Luigi lunged forward with a knife in hand. Thankfully, G side-stepped the man. Strangely, the man didn’t pull out any obvious weapons to defend himself. Instead, he pulled out a perfume bottle and sprayed it in the other man’s face. Luigi cried out at once, dropping the knife and clutching his face. “As I was saying. Changes are needed. You Largos, with your father’s most unfortunate admonitions, are clearly in need of an employee review. You’ll need to clean up your act if you don’t want to be thrown out on your asses. Ha!”
Pavi growled at the man, but said nothing as he looked to his brother. Specifically, with how his skin is cracking and bursting with puss. Amber, too, was fuming, but paid no mind to her brothers. “You think street-trash like you can actually run this company without us?”
“My dear Amber,” the wizard purred, stepping closer to the woman, “you change your eyes so often that you can’t even see the person you’re speaking to. I was bred and raised in luxury, born to a politically important family and have a prime education on how to operate in both business and politics.” He stood nose to nose to Amber with a predatory gleam. “And you have no idea the power I hold over you.”
“G!” Shilo shouted, understanding the man’s threat at once.
“Ah, Shilo!” The man exclaimed dramatically. “Yes, we have more immediate business to talk about, don’t we?” He stepped over to where her father lay with shallow breaths and pooling blood. G’s foot pressed lightly against the man’s leg. “What do you want done with him?” He asked casually.
Shilo looked down at her father, avoiding his eyes, and took a breath. “Get him healed, then have the cops him locked up. See how he likes it.”
“Shilo,” Her father gasped, “I know what I did was wrong. I’m sorry. Please, don’t leave. I can’t bear to lose you.”
“You lost me the day I learned the truth.” She replied dispassionately. Then she walked over and crouched next to him, this time looking firmly in the eyes. “You had seventeen years to come clean, and refused to do so. You’re not really sorry. Not yet. Episkey. ” She whispered lightly with a circular motion of her wand. It didn’t do much, but the knife wound managed to close up for the most part. She looked up to G, then. “Make sure he sees a proper healer and gets a blood replenishing potion.”
“I will.” The man nodded. He blinked, and looked to her pensively. “And what will you do about your part in the Will?”
She fixed him a frowned, one that read this was your idea, you realize . After a moment of thought, she huffed a resolution and stood up straight. “I have a flight to catch. I’ll send you a letter of my ideas when I get there.”
“Can’t say I’m surprised. You’re a Thunderbird to the end.” G then hopped back and gave her a dramatic bow. “Well then, Miss Wallace, I wish you safe travels. I look forward to what our futures will bring.”
Shilo nodded. “So do I. Goodbye, Mister Galloway .” With a twitch of a smile she hopped off of the stage and walked down the centre aisle through the audience seating. Row by row, people back to stand, craning their heads to look over the mysterious and passionate young woman who now owns half of GeneCo. They wondered to themselves of what the future has in store for all of them.
Hopefully, they thought, it will be a future of freedom.