Rough day. I’ve got a bag of ice on my knee, and I think I’m going to leave my gun under my pillow tonight. I’m in deep, now. No closer to Avery, but I’m in very deep.
Beautiful Charms was the shop. I recognized it from my journal as soon as I walked in. The jewelry, the snap bracelets Avery loves, and the teenage girl behind the counter were all there. I wasn’t sure about the girl. I didn’t have much of a description to go by. (I’ll have to do a better job describing people.) She was skinny, blonde, and chomping on a wad gum. I figured it could have been different girl, but I knew I was in the right place. The rack of snap bracelets was exactly where I expected.
The girl was sitting on a tall stool chair but stood up as I approach. Her uninviting eyes peered at me like she knew why I was there. They were telling me that I shouldn’t be there.
“I’m looking for Jenna-” was all I could say before she attacked. She planted a hand on the counter and jumped it without bending a knee or an elbow. In midair, she kicked me in my left ear. Her feet hit the ground before I recoiled. I reached for Jacob’s gun that I hid under my shirt, but she was quicker. She sent a crushing blow to my knee. I screamed in pain and fell to the ground. She rolled me over to my back with her foot and pressed it to my chest.
“I need to save my daughter,” I begged.
Her expression didn’t change. She just snapped her gum and stared blankly at me. She breathed as calmly as she had when I first entered the store. The entire exercise had been effortless for her.
Jenna stormed in from the backroom. “This hasn’t happened before. This isn’t right. You are not supposed to be here. The Jinni kills you.” Jenna ran over to us with an open laptop in hand. “Keep him down Tiffany. This isn’t right.”
Her computer started pinging. She set it on the counter while I panted flat on the floor. Frantically, Jenna typed. I could see windows popping up and closing on her screen.
“No, no, no.” Jenna continued to moan.
“What?” Tiffany asked.
“This is new, but never changes again. It’s creating a whole new timeline. Mastema found- Get down!” Jenna yelled.
It was too late. The place lit up with gunfire. Hundreds of splashing red dots sprang from both of their bodies. The windows were shattered in seconds. I covered myself as best as I could in a fetal position as glass rained on me. Their bodies dropped to the floor.
In seconds, the place was decimated. Before silence could sink in, four Black gangbangers stormed into the shop and grabbed me. Two of them had their faces covered with bandanas, the third had a Raiders’ cap pulled down, and the fourth didn’t seem to care. I tried to resist.
The one dressed in all Raiders’ get-up threatened me. “We gonna mess you up if you don’t get in.”
The thug with the white skullcap and fully exposed face seemed to be in charge. His deep Black voice was thicker than the others’. “Chill out G. Don’t sweat it, Andrew. We ain’t gonna do nothin’ to you. We ain’t suppose ta hurt you, but cops are gonna be all over this place. So get in if you wanna live.”
I freaked out. He knew my name. “I’m staying here. The cops aren’t going to kill me,” I mistakenly protested.
Their leader searched me and took Jacob’s gun. “You ain’t talking to no cops. You’d have a felony for concealing a weapon in no time. Now, get in the car before I stop asking,” he said.
I limped my way to the car. My knee had never hurt so much. One of the thugs opened the back door and I hopped in. The rest tossed their weapons, including Jacob’s gun, into the trunk and got in with me. I sat in the middle back between two of them. The leader sat shotgun.
I figured I was lucky enough to be alive. It didn’t matter that I was in a car full of killers. I had just survived a barrage of gunfire. How could it get any worse? Plus, they reminded me of Jacob. Given the lack of description in my journal, one of them could have been him.
As soon as we got moving, I asked, “Are any of you Jacob?”
They erupted with laughter. “This cracker’s running around with a gat, a Watcher, and no memory. But he don’t care. He’s got a mission. No worries. They call me ‘The Barber.’ You can call me Joe. This here’s my unit. We were ordered to stake out the charm shop in case something goes down after you contacted that oracle. When we saw you, we were going ta jump you when you came out, but things went south for ya so we had to act fast. You must of surprised that bitch. You can’t just go walk into an oracle’s place without them expectin’ you. That’s a good way to get yourself killed.”
After I read my previous journal entries, I had thought about Jenna’s powers. She seemed to know that I was coming that day with Jacob. She seemed to know the future. I asked Joe, the Barber.
“Exactly… well kind of. There’s many possible futures. Angels are able to live the timeline of existence multiple times. When they do, they leave imprints. Oracles know how to find these and see the future. But don’t worry about all that. We’re taking you home. I’ve been assigned to your case. You go home, ice that knee, and let me take care of this.”
“Jacob is supposed to help me.” I responded.
“Not anymore. You ain’t allowed to call a jinni. We don’t work with angels. Jacob’s in big trouble for messing with them. He’s off your case. No worries though. I’m even better.”
When Joe dropped me off, he didn’t tell me to make a journal or give me a gun. He just told me to get a good night’s sleep. Before I got out of the car, I insisted he give me my gun back. I don’t think he intended to give it back, but he returned it as through it slipped his mind. I’m pretty sure that he’s setting me up for something. I need to find Jacob. For some reason, I trust him. Even though I have no memory of him. I think it’s the fact that he was willing to break the rules to help me find Avery.