When we got back to New York. My first thought was home. But I knew Derek wouldn’t let me return.
“There are people looking for you. It’s better for you not to return home before the first ten or fifteen years.” He had said each and every time I brought up seeing my mom and dad.
Ten or fifteen years? Will they be able to wait that long?
As we unpacked our bags into the house, I set up a photo of my parents for the tenth time. Each time Derek would take it and place it back into one of my bags or a hidden drawer. Apparently, this time wasn’t any different.
“You can’t leave evidence to who you are tied to. It’s information people can hold against you.” He warned.
I sat down on the bed, glaring at him, “I want to go back and visit them. I haven’t seen my mom for years.”
“I get that, but you can’t go back.” He turned towards me, guilt burning in his eyes, “It’s not safe for you, for me, for your parents. You can’t return….not yet.”
“Then when can I go?” I asked, impatiently, “You told me when we first met that I would be able to go visit my parents all I wanted to.”
“After your training.” He reminded.
“Aiden, you know I can’t stand having to say no to you. Can you just drop this for now?” He asked, trying not to look at me.
I sighed and went up behind him, wrapping my arms around his waist, “Then don’t say no. You know I’ve gotten a lot stronger, a lot faster…a lot better. You’ve trained me, Derek, for the past two years. Even if something happened, aren’t you confident in yourself enough to say that your trainee has learned a lot…and enough to be able to withstand with you by her side.”
He turned to face me and placed his hand on my neck, “You know you aren’t just my trainee…”
“Just more the reason to trust each other, as a team.” I smiled.
Derek sighed, letting his head fall backwards. I knew I had finally won. I was going back home.
When we finally arrived, I could help but sprint to the front door. Apparently, that was too fast because I almost ran through it. Derek came up behind me laughing, the laugh that was only meant for me. He seemed very happy, but also not only nervous about meeting my parents.
“Aiden!” My mom screamed, running for me. “You’re back! It’s been so long!”
“Who’s the man beside you?” That was the first time I had heard his voice with some emotion in it.
I looked up and saw my dad standing in the doorway. “Sir, this is Derek. He’s been helping me and guiding me for the past two years.”
“Thank you for taking care of our daughter, Derek.” My mom couldn’t help but place her hand on his arm, which made him even more tense. “My little daughter is finally home!”
“It’s my job.” Derek forced a smile. “I have to protect her…at all costs.”
“Aiden’s finally home!” Mom continued to cheer. “She’s finally home! My baby is home!”
He was looking around the room. His eyes were darting here and there. I took a step away from him, but his hand grabbed my wrist and told me to stay. His whole body was tense, flexed and tense.
I started to listen as much as I could. My parents had gone silent with worry. I scanned the house, like Derek had taught me, but I couldn’t pick up as much as I would’ve liked. I couldn’t hear anything more than a little buzz either.
Derek’s grip tightened on my wrist. I twisted in pain and tried to yank his hand off me. It didn’t work. When he finally looked over at me, he helped me up from my knees. I looked up at the fear in his eyes, the worry, and the fright.
He could barely manage a whisper, “We have to get out of here. Now.”
It was too late. The ceiling crumbled down as fast as lighting. I swooped in and stole my parents out of the way. They stood behind Derek and I. Mom had fainted.
Something came out of the dust and pulled at my arm. Derek pulled out his sword and easily cut the foreign arm off. He then carried me out of the dust. I was panicking, reaching for my parents, but they were just out of reach.
Derek stopped at the car and turned back. It was just in time for me to witness my parents’ death. Their blood was stained everywhere.
As Derek drove us away as fast as he could, the hulk of metal ran into the street but then stopped. It watched us, stared right at me. Then I knew, somehow, I was next.