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Terkel's Twist
Author: Dale Mayer

 

Prologue

 

 

The trip to Texas was brutal. The flight long, noisy, and tedious, when so much in Terk’s life was on hold. He’d sent out probes, checking on everyone multiple times, and everyone was fine. Even with that reassurance it was hard for him to relax.

While his brother was at his side, a rare moment for the two of them, it was hard knowing what was coming and what they’d left behind.

“Have you told them where we are?” Merk asked him.

Terk nodded. “Yes, but I’ve also slowed the energy going to them, so I’ll call them when we land.”

Merk shook his head but remained silent; then out of the blue, he said, “You know that, even though I’m used to this, it still sounds bizarre what you’re saying.”

Not much Terk could say to that. His brother had long been his biggest supporter, but that adaptation couldn’t have been easy. Terk had often wondered if there was something Merk couldn’t tap into or ignored either willfully or subconsciously all these years. In Terk’s case, his extra senses dominated. Ignoring them wasn’t even possible.

“What are you and your team going to do when this is over?” Merk murmured, looking out the plane window. “We’re almost there.”

“I know, and I’ve spent much of this flight resting, letting the energy flow in the direction it needs to, and it heads to England every time.”

Merk stared at him sharply. “As in a permanent location? As in the entire team or just yourself?”

“Yes, as to location and as in the whole team, including all the new members.”

“And Celia?”

That was a question Terk couldn’t answer. No one could at this stage. He could see bits and pieces, images that were both dark and intense, yet sprinkled in between softer ones. He knew Celia was important, but the jury was out as to whether she was on the plus side or the minus side. Terk could only hope that, given what he did know, she wasn’t involved in the making of this nightmare. If she was, good luck keeping his son away from him. If she wasn’t involved in that way, then Terk knew the future would get very interesting, very soon.

The seat belt sign kicked on.

Merk looked over at him and smiled. “You ready? To meet Celia? To see what the hell is going on at this end?”

“Always,” Terk murmured, looking at the approaching runway. “And more than ready to end this. Whatever the hell this is …”

 

 

Chapter 1

 

 

Terkel Armand slipped out of the truck and studied the huge concrete structure that rose in front of him. Multiple vehicles were parked around them, but the energy seemed off. “The compound appears empty.”

At that, Merk sucked in a heavy breath. “Yeah.” He nodded, but his expression was worried. “They could be hiding in a lot of places around here. It doesn’t have to be bad news.”

“No, I’m not sure it’s bad news yet,” Terk replied, “but something is odd about it.”

“Odd how? Do you want to define that a little better?”

“Is Katina here?”

“No, she’s on a trip to California,” he admitted. “It’s one of the reasons why I came to help you.”

At that, Terk’s lips twitched. “What? She didn’t ask to come with you?”

“She’s not used to this madness. It would have created more problems than it solved.”

“Because of me?”

“You and I are very close, always have been. When you need help, I’m there. She knows that.”

Merk had always done so, right from the beginning. Terk nodded calmly. Right now, more trouble than he cared to acknowledge was up ahead. He just wasn’t certain when it was coming or in what form. “I’m definitely getting an odd reading from the compound.”

“You want to go through the back way?”

“No. … I think, if we go any other way than straight through the front, it’ll look odd.”

“I’d rather look odd and still be alive,” Merk noted calmly.

“Maybe, but it’s not that kind of an oddness.”

Merk shrugged. “I trust you. Let’s go.” Together they walked up to the garage entrance.

“Gates are closed. Alarm systems are running still, so why am I getting a sense of emptiness?” Terk was bewildered.

“Our new security? Something you haven’t come up against?”

“Possibly.” Terk glanced over at his brother.

“Have you got something?” Merk asked him.

“No, I am not getting much from out here, and I’m not at my best. No strange heat signatures.”

“We have a new technology that closes down heat recognition,” Merk replied, with a nod.

“I wondered as much,” Terk murmured. As they walked up to the compound, both of them with weapons in hand, Merk took the lead and unlocked the inner gate to let them in.

Terk remained confused, and his energy was all over the place. “Still feels weird.”

“Weird is pretty normal in your world, so I can’t dispute that,” Merk replied. “What about your own personal security setup? I am sure you did something in the ethers or whatever to make sure that we were safe too.”

“I did. … Yet still something’s affecting that.”

“Interesting. So take a wild guess. Humor me.”

“I can’t. I don’t know,” Terk replied in frustration. As they walked forward a few steps, he stopped. “Something else has shifted.”

At that, the door in front of them opened casually. They both looked up in unison, and there she was. Ice. Standing tall and strong in front of them and … smiling.

Merk raced forward to her. “We weren’t sure what the hell we were sensing, but definitely something was off. Even Terk wasn’t sure.”

“Yeah.” She shrugged. “We’ll have to talk about that, Terk.”

He frowned at her. “About what?”

She lowered her voice. “You tell me. After all, you’ve had a chance to see the signatures.”

“Definitely some disrupting energy is here that I didn’t put in place.” Terk nodded.

“I’m getting that too,” she stated. “That makes better sense. It’s good to have you here.”

He walked over, gave her a big hug. “Thank you—for everything.”

“You’re welcome.” Ice smiled. “By the way, she’s a sweetheart.”

He laughed. “That’s good to know because we have some difficult news to deal with right now.”

“The biggest of which is what?” she asked, as she closed the door behind them. “What the hell’s going on, and how close are we to bringing this to an end?”

Terk caught movement at another door, and he quickly turned to see Levi. He relaxed a bit, seeing him walk toward him, with a big grin on his face. The two men exchanged a hard hug.

“It’s good to see you,” Levi greeted him. “Glad you brought Merk back with you.”

Terk smiled, loving the absolute acceptance he always got from these guys. He knew part of it was the years working with his brother and the number of times Terk had called in to warn them about something that would go crazy on them. They had a long history of helping each other in shitstorms that they couldn’t possibly see for themselves.

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