This is Episode 4 of the first season of Twinstinct.
Thank you for reading!
“Chicago Xenokiller Party Declares Victory; Cleveland Falls.” Vanessa read, looking over the Saturday morning newspaper nervously, “Friday night following Chicago’s fall to the Xenokillers, Mayor Janine Blackman of Cleveland, Ohio was ousted by a group of radical protesters lead by self-proclaimed “anti-Xeno” Leander Lucas. Lucas has been notorious for starting mall riots in the past, but has risen to the top of the Xenokiller movement in recent years.”
Vanessa looked up and turned to her brother. “We have to do something.” she decided, “We can’t just let these guys treat us like this!”
“Well, how do you suppose we do that?” Vander asked, sitting on the couch, “We have no control over our Twinstinct - there is no way we can take down an army on our own.”
Vanessa set down the paper and sat in the chair closer to the television. Her brother was right. They couldn’t take down how ever many thousands of Xenokillers there were; they’d just have to lay low as usual, only fighting if the Xenokillers were to come for them. She wished that they had gone with the man who visited them when they had the chance.
It was September 23, 2020. When the man walked through the door, it was as if time froze. Everyone at the funeral, Cassie’s funeral, felt the energy he radiated. While all others despaired, he shed not a single tear.
“Do I know you?” Susan asked him as he walked by. She had wiped away her tears in the bathroom earlier, but the mere sight of the coffin made her breakdown. She stood between the visitor and her daughter’s body.
“No, you don’t.” he asserted bluntly, “You are Mrs. Susan Smith, I presume?”
Susan nodded, the man continuing, “My condolences, ma’am.”
After a pause, he began again. “I am here to warn you about the safety of your twins. I do apologize, but the matter is life or death.” he briefed, “You know as well as I of their power. They will be very strong one day if you let me help.”
Susan raised her brows at the suspicious man, who not only interrupted her daughter’s funeral but now appeared to be threatening her children. “Who are you?” Susan demanded to know, “What exactly are you getting at?”
“Who I am is of no concern to you, Susan.” the man snapped, “What matters most is the safety of your two remaining children. I am the only one who can help save them if you allow it.”
“What is going on here?” James interrogated, butting into the conversation, “Save who?”
“This man says Vander and Vanessa are in danger.” Susan stated, “But he has yet to explain any details that convince me he is telling the truth.”
The man rolled his eyes. “There is a darkness that stirs in this Realm, and it endangers the life of every magical being here. This includes Vander and Vanessa. The darkness will kill them unless you let me take them away.”
James took out his gun, pointing it at the man. “You are not taking my children anywhere!” he yelled, catching the attention of all those around him, “Tell me your name!”
Smiling, the man held up his hand, brandishing James’s gun for all to see. “If you must know, I am Loki, the Norse god of Mischief.” he introduced, turning the gun into stone and dropping it to the ground, “I am here to take Vander and Vanessa Smith with me to Asgard, where they will be protected from the coming Storm.”
“Loki?” Vander gulped, walking over beside his mother with Vanessa close behind, “That’s a silly name.”
Loki took a breath and squatted down to meet the twins on eye level. He had dark brown eyes, a large nose, and short black hair. He wore a grey trench coat, with shiny black dress shoes. “Hello there, little ones.” he greeted, “How old are you two?”
“Eight, I think.” Vander replied, “How old are you?”
“12,501.” the god answered, “If I remember correctly.”
“Wow, you’re old!” Vander laughed, “You only look 50.”
“Thank you, Vander.” Loki laughed, amused, “Please excuse me, I must speak with your parents. Alone.”
Standing up, Loki, waved his hand in the air, summoning a cloud of putrid grey smoke that seeped out from the walls and swirled around the room. Within seconds, Susan and James found themselves in some kind of dimly lit basement. Loki sat before them in a recliner that was covered in dust.
“I do not have long, Mr. and Mrs. Smith.” Loki told them plainly, “In seven years, the Storm will begin, and your twins will only be saved if they are with me.”
“I can’t lose my children.” Susan responded, her tears returning at the thought of failing another child, “Whatever this Storm is, the Smiths will weather it as a family.”
“Family!” Loki jeered, throwing his head back with a loud laugh, “If you truly want to save your family, you would heed my warning. Asgard will be the only Realm left for those with magic when the Storm is over. All other Realms will become void of the supernatural and extraordinary!”
“My children will be fine without their power.” Susan assured, looking at her husband, “I’d rather see my babies each day than let them go to save their powers - the same powers that Cassie became too reliant on.”
“I agree.” James chimed in, “You have no business here, Loki.”
“You are missing the point.” Loki huffed, “It is not just magic that will be destroyed, but all things supernatural. Your twins will die just like your daughter did, unless they come with me.”
Susan sat down her two eight-year-olds and debated how to tell them they were going on a trip.
“Do you remember the man from Cassie’s funeral?” Susan asked, Vander nodding as Vanessa started tearing up, “Well, he gave us a warning that you two are in danger, and though it kills me to do this, I love you both too much to risk losing you for good.”
“We are sending you to Asgard.” James said, “Loki will watch over you until the Storm passes. When it does, you will come back and we’ll get ice cream.”
“I don’t want to leave you.” Vanessa pouted, “Please don’t send us away!”
“Yeah!” Vander chimed in, “Loki is kinda scary too.”
“We’ve packed your bags.” Susan went on, “Loki will be here shortly to pick you up. I promise we are doing this for your own good.”
“Yes, little ones, and while you are in Asgard, I’ve arranged for you to attend Nortminch Acadamy to teach you to use your powers to their fullest extent.” Loki’s smile made Vander queasy. It made Vanessa want to kick him.
“I’m not going.” Vanessa announced, “I’m staying here.” Sitting down, the eight-year-old stubbornly crossed her arms and hmmfed.
“You will go, for your safety.” Loki cooed, “Fear not, there will be plenty for you to do.”
Vanessa shook her head and Vander sat next to her, their arms bumping against each other for only a moment, sending a blast of energy into Loki’s chest and throwing him against the far wall. He quickly stood up, brushed himself off, and took a deep breath. “You two will not do that again.” he chastised, “I will not stand for your antics!”
“Please don’t send us!” Vander cried, “I don’t like him! He’s old, and scary, and ugly!”
“Too bad!” Loki roared, snapping his fingers and opening a pulsating purple portal to his home Realm, “We are leaving now!”
Susan looked at her twins, and then the angry god before her. “I’m sorry, I can’t let this happen.” she whispered, “Vander! Vanessa! You are going nowhere. I’d never forgive myself if I went through with this!”
“You can’t back out now!” Loki hissed, grabbing Vander’s wrist and pulling him towards the portal, “Your twins are now in my care!” “Mommy!” Vander screamed as Loki tugged him away, “Help!”
Their mother raced into action, taking Vander into her arms and flinging the boy to her husband. “Don’t ever grab my kid like that!” she snarled in the god’s face, “I don’t care who you are - when it comes to my children, you do not stand a chance against me.” Drawing her arm back, Susan swung her fist at Loki, punching him in the face and sending him tumbling backward. Her wedding ring sliced his cheek as he stumbled away, and blood dripped from the wound as he fell back into the portal to Asgard.
Vanessa looked at the spot where she had last seen the Norse god and wondered if the Xenokillers were the Storm he had warned them about. If so, maybe they should have gone to Asgard with him. Maybe they’d have been safer. Maybe they’d have learned enough about their Twinstinct to beat the Xenokillers. Sighing, Vanessa got up out of her chair and walked to her room. Once inside, she took out her phone and started texting Olivia.
Across the city, NYC mayor Alexandra Maria Cruz prepared for her speech. She ordered her index cards and ran through her major points. She was responding to the Xenokiller Takeovers in Chicago and Cleveland and was ready for the worst. Wearing a black skirt and red jacket, the mayor quickly made her way to the press room, where cameras were waiting.
“There is no room for bigotry of any kind in this country!” Mayor Cruz began, “The Xenokillers in Chicago and Cleveland, to them I say one thing: We don’t want you!”
As the mayor spoke, a slight breeze blew through the room. The lights flickered. And then, a cloud of smoke spiraled up beside the mayor’s podium. People began to scream, and one voice rose to the top of the rest, “It’s a Xeno!”
Then, a woman appeared, dressed in black and her hands ablaze. The mayor was horrified, defenseless as the fire rained down upon her. The smoke cleared quickly, revealing to the cameras the mayor’s lifeless charred body slumped over her podium. The “Xeno” assassin was gone.