Glitches Free Online Serial Novel


Chapter 20

Ten minutes later we materialized on both sides of Gerard and each took an arm as we directed him up into the trees where the two of us were sitting and waiting moments before. I wasn’t certain if Gerard even noticed we were there. He was sort of mumbling to himself and rustling through the paper bag holding his new stash. I only heard a few nonsensical words, nothing really intelligible. Gerard’s head bowed a bit, and I felt his weight shift towards the ground. I wondered if he might be passing out.

“Maybe we should set him down?” I asked Bea. And we rested him against the base of an aspen and I thought for a moment. “I think I’m going to call to the others now.” I knew that my time exclusively with Bea was coming to an end. And that was the last thing I wanted. I couldn’t think of another way to forestall the inevitable. She eventually nodded at that and I shot an Emp signal to the two other groups. And in the matter of a few minutes we were all together again standing amongst the trees with Gerard and I was so completely overwhelmed by everything all of a sudden.

I didn’t know what to say, or do, or even what we were hoping for by talking to Gerard and so I slumped down onto the ground and waited. Everyone seemed to be in a similar place, quietly waiting, when all of a sudden Gerard began to speak.

“Ben. You are in chains. And you need to break free. This power you think you’ve found is nothing more than illusion. You will die in these chains if you don’t act now.”

‘Oh woah.’ I thought to myself. What was this? And then Gerard began to fall over.

“Steady… I said. Steady.” And I propped him back up against the tree and was basically holding onto him for dear life now. “Come back to me buddy. Come back.”

“Their coming…” I heard him mumble.

“Who’s coming? What are you saying Gerard?” I pleaded. Bea gave me a look trying to settle me down a bit. I was a bit amped now. I wanted to know what he was talking about and I needed to know right now.

He lifted an eyebrow and looked beyond me to the rest of the group. “To the rest of you I say, you are in just as much danger as he is. Your fates are inextricably tied now. They have plans for you all.” Gerard swooned again and seemed to fade out of focus all of a sudden. Woah, what was that? And who was out to get us all? What plans were these?

“Don’t go. Please.” I begged.

And then he rallied enough to level me flat. “There is a traitor in your midst. They will be revealed soon enough… don’t concern yourself there. Survive.” I shot a glance around the group at this. I was shocked beyond belief. Seriously?

“Here is the key. Whatever you do – do not listen to him.” Gerard’s voice slurred and went quiet. Listen to whom? When? How will I know? And then he continued again, “The moment you do, it will be all over. Fight. Run. Survive.”

I let go of Gerard now and looked at everyone in the group. I was beyond my end now. I was emotionally drained and at toasted completely. I didn’t know what to do now. I was afraid now more than I was with the Shack running rampant through my head. I didn’t know if I could do it. I didn’t know if I could do any of it anymore.

At this Gerard looked up at me and said, “They are here now,” and my blood ran cold.

Gerard then did something extraordinary. Another him, a hologram, or a projection maybe – stepped out of himself and stood with us. This projection of himself was not inebriated whatsoever. He was moving perfectly and without the impact of the alcohol that completely held his real self under full sway. He turned to me and said “Come, we will go and meet them now.”

“Should we run now?” I was pleading now with the sleeping form on the grass.

The hologram turned to me and said, “There’s nowhere to run. We are surrounded.” And then after a pause he said, “Just remember what I have said. It is your one path forward.”

We all walked down the slope of aspens and into the parking lot. As soon as we did cars flew into the lot on all sides. Yeah, we definitely were surrounded. My brain was cycling through options and payloads quickly now. I was calculating possibilities and opportunities. I didn’t want to go quietly. And that was when I felt an arm on my wrist steadying me. Calming me. And I felt an influx of peace tossed over my senses. I looked over and found Bea staring straight at me. I backed off then.

Sumner was raring to go now too though. And Derek for that matter. Cat eyed me to see if she wanted me to pop forward in time to find a way to dance out of this situation. I shook my head no and then tried to stay the two guys as well. I looked for Yolanda and immediately realized she was scared out of her mind. The reality of the words from the Oracle and the obvious pickle she was now in must be just dawning on her. I couldn’t deal with her right now.

There in front of us was a dark van that two young women hopped out of and sprinted out into the periphery. They then threw an Emp shield over the parking lot to protect the proceedings from prying eyes. Then, following them were two men who were wearing the smartest suit cuts I had ever seen in my life. They were decidedly out of place in this mountain town. But it was the long dark trench coats despite the warmth of the day that really gave me pause. The first thing they said was “Gerard, you are coming with us.” And at that, Gerard’s hologram giggled a bit. They went to cease him and he vanished. “Find him”, they hollered. And they went running up through hillside looking for Gerard. A few minutes later they had given up. And I had no idea how Gerard could have possibly run in that state, but he had.

Once the trenchcoats had returned, I wondered to myself if these might be two of the leaders of the houses. But then four individuals stepped out of the van, two men and two women, that took the “out of place” cake to a whole new level.

I was standing here in cargos, Rocketdogs… and a hoodie and these four individuals must have just left the opera. And by left the opera, I mean, left the stage. The two women had explosions of hair that defied physics. They were also tricked out in fullon theatrical makeup. Even the men were wearing eyeshadow and blush. I almost laughed except that I was more than a little worried for my life presently and probably would have thrown up if I had tried.

And then I recognized one of them. I turned and began looking for Yolanda as quickly as I could. I didn’t see her at first. When I did spot her on the other side of Sumner, she was already looking my direction with a quasi-smug look painted across her face. And my face screamed back her direction, ‘WHAT GIVES?’ And then the biggest, most vindictive smile ever crossed her face.

Yolanda wandered over to intercept the four individuals and escorted them directly in front of me. Then she said, “Welcome Council Leaders – what a privilege it is to meet you all in person. It is a true honor.” Then she turned to me and said, Bentley, let me introduce you to the four council leaders. They’ve been waiting for this moment for quite some time now.” She turned to a gentleman that had to have been in his eighties now that I could see beyond his makeup. “This is the head of the Shift House – I’m sure you and he will have a natural affinity as that was your first identified skill. President Kage please meet Bentley Swift.” Truth be told, the last thing I wanted to do right then was to shake his hand. But I could find no way around it and so I did.

“And this is President Trill, the head of Ghost House.” I shook the tips of her fingers as that was all she handed me. I was thankful for the full length gloves she was wearing as it gave a level of separation that was preferred.

As she was walking past she suddenly stopped and said, “I hear that our dearest Bea helped you phase for the first time today. We knew you would save the greatest skill for last. Amazing, no?”

I had no idea what to say to that. On any level. How did she know? What did else did these people know about me that I had no idea about? This was all very unsettling. And so I said the only thing that came to mind at the time, “Oh I’m sure I will be using that particular little trick to my advantage regularly.” She chuckled a bit at that as she continued off to the side.

Yolanda then announced the third Council Leader, “President Blade, the head of Juggernaut House.” He was the most ‘normal’ looking of the four. Though old and overly lathered in cosmetics as well. He had nothing to say to me, and so I kept my mouth shut and concentrated on the woman standing behind him.

Once Blade had stepped out of the way Yolanda’s voice kicked up a couple extra octaves. “And Bentley, you need no introductions here. I give you the head of TK House. Auntie Guile.” She all but scooped me up and layered my face in lipstick and rouge.

While still firmly holding on to my arms I took the liberty of asking a question – “So this has been your house all along then?”

She laughed like a cawing vulture at that. “Oh Yolanda, don’t you love him dearly?… he is truly a gem. Yes. That is correct. You have been deeply embedded in TK House all this time and didn’t even know it. We just knew you had talent. So glad to meet you on this side of the veil.” It felt like something deep inside my mind was ripping free.


The small caravan of cars and vans slid in and out of small roads criss-crossing the town of Durango. The group had been split into two vans. Somehow I had been shepherded away from the team and was riding with the Council members and Yolanda. The only thing I found myself thinking about was if Bea was ok. The van continued its march across the city until we pulled up to the historic Strater Hotel. I’d had several dinners here with Yolanda and her family over the past few years and so I knew the place fairly well. I knew it was built by a pharmacist interested in bettering the mining town by starting a hotel. I also knew that the structure dated back to the 1880’s sometime. It was definitely one of the most prominent historic structures still standing in the area. It was hard to miss.

But as I sat in the van and stared out onto the street there was no way on God’s green earth that I was going to be walking out there into the open for every FBI agent in town to see me having dinner. I swung around and looked for Yolanda and firmly shook my head indicating that this wasn’t happening.
Blade stepped in sensing there was a bit of a problem. “Son, the hotel is safe. We have Emps stationed throughout our hotel at all times which allows us to conduct business here with impunity. We’ve owned this hotel since the Silver Bust in this area when we purchased this gorgeous four story Victorean hotel for a song. Believe me. You will be safe here.”

“You sound like either a real estate agent or a part of the tourism board for Durango.” I sort of chuckled to myself and realized no one else found it funny in the least.

Getting out of the van and walking through the front doors took everything I had to keep from cowering from the security cameras and flinching away from all the people that crowded this gorgeous hotel. So the councils had owned this building from the start? I idly wondered what other interesting pieces of property were owned throughout Durango, or the world for that matter.

I waited just inside the foyer for the rest of the team to arrive. As Bea gracefully slid up the main entrance stairs I took her hand and squeezed, with a question if she was ok in my eyes. She nodded at that and surprised me by continuing to hold on to my hand as we began walking through the lobby. I pushed the question into Bea’s mind – what now? Bea blanched at this. And quickly I realized why. One of the trench coats listening in on an ear piece strode over to me quickly and whispered into my ear. “Usually that you just did would be seen as potentially hostel and therefore quickly punishable by death. Please don’t let it happen again while on the premises.”

Auntie butted her way in to the conversation and began crowing loudly, “Bentley, don’t listen to this man one bit. Soon we will be asking you to perform all sorts of tricks here on the premises. Just don’t do any tricks that we haven’t explicitly asked for, ok? It has been the Cranial law for years and years. Trust me on this. Its much safer if you leave your weapons at the door to a house like this one.”

“Well ok then.” Was about the only thing I could think to say. I was soon to be learning many other laws like this one. I couldn’t imagine what any of them might be, but I was sure that in order to make an underground society like this one survive for as long as they had there had to be hundreds of rules and regulations. But that didn’t mean I liked it at all. Bea squeezed my hand a bit at that as we continued to the back of the hotel.


Soon we found ourselves standing in the middle of a gorgeous ballroom. Around the outside of the elaborately decorated hall was arranged seating for somewhere close to two hundred or so people. Every seat was filled and there were even people standing by the doors and spilling out into the hallways trying to get in. The dais was arranged with large arm-chaired seats for each of the Council presidents. If the environment wasn’t so rife with potential hostility it would be a very lovely atmosphere for an evening out.

I was comforted to have the other five members of my ill-fitted team by my side, but I had a feeling that wasn’t going to last much longer. Somehow I just knew this evening was going to go from bad to worse, and the problem was, I wasn’t sure if I would recognize the different degrees at which it was changing until it was too late. Once the hall was quieted down, President Kage took the podium and began to speak.

“Ladies and gentlemen, speaking on behalf of Shift House and I know I am joined by the other houses as well when I say that we welcome you here for this historic gathering of the houses. I believe it has been over twenty five years since our last gathering of all the houses together. And so we are fairly excited to have you all here together today.” Kage, coughed a bit into a handkerchief and then took a sip of water and continued on.

“Before we continue with the historic matter at hand, I’ve been told that there are a few announcements to be made of significant House moves. What better time to announce these sorts of promotions and new leadership changes then when we are all together?” There was a sprinkling of applause at that. It seemed like the crowd was ready to get to me, and truth be told, I was fairly happy to stick with the administrative items for the rest of the night. “Mrs. Guile? The podium is yours.”

Auntie walked up to the podium with a firm resolution and determination. I wondered to myself how exactly she had slid so perfectly under my radar. How could all of this been going on all around me without any sort of indication at all? “Ladies and Gentlemen, Ghosts, TKs, Juggernauts and Shifts… let me welcome you on behalf of the TK House as well. I echo President Blade’s comments and am excited to join in on this historic occasion.”

“I am taking this opportunity to resign as President of TK House. I have enjoyed over forty years in this post and I have been very lucky to have seen many come and go during that span.” There was a rumble that rolled through the audience at that. “Over the last week we received nominations and candidates to fill the position and were honored to select a truly radiant replacement for this post.”

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really concentrating on what she was saying, so I had to ask Bea to repeat what she said next before it hit me as to what happened next. “The TK House has elected Yolanda Guile to the post of President of the House. And I couldn’t be more proud.” And I don’t think it really hit me as to what was happening until Yolanda left our group and strode across the floor to accept the nomination.