Clementine nearly tripped across the threshold after her captor pushed her in the back. Reaching her hand out to steady herself, she found her hand captured in that of a black man in his thirties, he had kind eyes but she sensed sadness in them. Mumbling her thanks, she leaned against the nearest wall and was surprised by some of the faces staring at her from around the pendulum that hung in the middle of the room.

An Asian woman dressed in a deep blue business suit with matching heels. She was young, probably a couple of years younger than Clementine. The black man didn’t seem much older than 30 but the way he seemed to be folded in upon himself made her think that he had recently gone through a great loss. The old woman in the corner watched them all with hawk-like eyes from where she was settled in a rickety rolling chair.

The other three in the room were the ones that made her gasp. They were her childhood playmates: Faith Austen, J.J. Austen, and Aaron Littleton. And they seemed just as surprised to see her.

“There, now our little group is almost complete,” the older woman said as her ancient hands gripped the handle of her cane. “We are missing only one.”

“Who are you?” Clementine asked. Glancing at the others, she could sense the fear among the others and knew that they were all in this together. “Why have you brought us here against our will?”

“Clementine, you may think it was against your will, but you are about to fulfill your destiny.”

“Our destiny?” J.J. looked incredulously at the woman. “You call being kidnapped and held in some cell our destiny? That’s a load of crap!”

“You’ll understand soon enough, J.J.” She smiled and stood. “Let me explain,” she paused, “at least a little bit.”

She slowly made her way toward the giant pendulum and pointed at it. “Do you know what this is for?”

When none of them answered she turned her back on the pendulum. “This is an instrument of destiny that has played a part in shaping each of you, whether you realize it or not.”

“You’re crazy,” J.J. huffed as he slouched against the wall.

“Yes, it always seems that way to the uninitiated,” she said. “Perhaps should introduce myself.”

“Gee, ya think?” Faith mumbled.

“My name is Eloise Hawking, and I have a gift.” She glanced at each of them. “Just like each of you have a gift. And, together, we must exercise our gifts in order to achieve our destiny.”

“What’s our destiny?” the Asian woman asked, her English slightly accented. “I don’t understand.”

“You have desired to know more about your parents,” Eloise Hawking turned her sharp gaze onto the Asian woman. “You have been wondering why they abandoned you 20 years ago. I will help you find what happened to them, Ji Yeon Kwon.”

“You know where my parents are?” Ji Yeon asked.

“I know everything, and soon so will you.”

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