Author's Ramblings: I predict about two more pieces to wrap up this summer serial. WOOT! Well, Ebony got her wish, she blew up the warehouse and the drama chain reaction started. It is another short excerpt for this week, because I haven't really been able to carve out as much time to write as I'd like to. I can blame this on that "real life" thing, but quite frankly, it's Summer and July is Camp Nanowrimo month. If you're behind in this serial, just click the tags "Disperse Serial" and catch up on the backposts! ^_^ Credits for these photos were through google image search and photo.net. Apologies for any rough patches in this piece, I've skimmed it once. Happy weekend and enjoy the read!
In the space of time it took Ebony to burn her restraints and leap to her feet, her captors turned to see what was happening. It took a strong push of air, applied in a concentrated burst to her feet, and a few careful stabs to her stomach and chest to throw herself upwards and to the wooden framework of the warehouse.
From that precious vantage point, Ebony sucked in her breath, working to force her body to handle more than one element at the same time. It was possible, but that did not mean that she appreciated the discomfort that came with it. Her body shifted to water and fire, with some difficulty. Water—in order for her to read the vibrations from the warehouse structure and other buildings in the immediate area, fire—to prepare to torch the place.
Bullets were in short order, whizzing up in the rafters, punching polka dot holes through the ceiling and a few larger objects came close to touching her near-rooftop perch, but Ebony was quicker. She’d had time to put some thought into her escape route and now she took it. “Oi, keep that up and I’ll be sure to roast you alive instead of just bringing this crashing down on your stupid heads!” She bit her lip, a little past annoyed, as the angry flames flickering at her right hand could testify. “I don’t appreciate being kidnapped, I don’t appreciate being treated like I’m some sort of object and lastly, I don’t appreciate your inquiry into the Echo family.”
Flexing her legs, Ebony drew on her elemental gifts, a constantly shifting blur of white-blue-red and green as she landed softly on the concrete floor of the warehouse, directly in the center of the forming circle of death. The henchmen circled her, guns at the ready, a few of the others jabbering frantically on their cellphones, trying to call in their own gifted reserve officers.
“Take your best shot.” Her smirk shifted to a grim glower. “Because if you miss, I’m gonna knock your head off.”
Ebony fluxed white.
The element of air gifted her with the ability of nothing—all the bullets passed through and found their intended targets—their fellow comrades on the other side of the circle. It was a matter of minutes before the stronger ones separated themselves from the weaker shooters, struggling to their feet, clutching an injury, their dark eyes focused solely on the elemental girl before them.
“Who are you?” Gregory had gone pale, for all his talk as the head of the little group, he was suddenly looking like a rat trapped in an oversized cage. “Why do you care?”
His unofficial bodyguard, J, scrambled to take up a defensive position beside the white-faced Gregory. “Don’t listen to her, the Echo family and-who are you working for? I knew he’d double-cross us the fre-”
“I work for myself, much more profitable.” Ebony shot back. “Far more satisfying too.” She sucked in a breath and blew it out with force, her eyes burning red as her body finally completely converted to fire, a walking, scarlet figure of burning destruction. The concrete hissed beneath her feet with the temperatures spiking off of the angry young woman as she approached the mismatched duo. “I don’t appreciate your…inquiry, into the Echo family.” One flaming hand moved from her side to plunge into her stomach, pulling out a sparkling, perfect, crystal cube.
A flicker of white-yellow-peach shimmered, showing that the information was still intact—for the moment.
In the flaming hand that held it, the cube began to melt, the colors distorting and turning black before crumbling to a small puddle of ashes trickling to the floor. One flaming foot stepped deliberately on the blackened patch, a louder flicker of sizzling flame filling the air as she approached the two men in the corner. “Bet your shiny new boots they’ll be happy I did that. So answer me this, does dirt burn?” She inquired, a toothy smile visible in the flaming visage of her eerie face. “Shall we find out?”
Othello found himself within city limits faster than he’d expected. A grim smile registered as he slowed to better navigate the confusing city streets, aiming for the destination blinking on the dashboard GPS. “Stupid girl.” He muttered, accelerating through a changing stoplight, clearing the line as it flashed red in his rearview mirror.
There was a faint burning on the lower left side of his back and although it was becoming increasingly uncomfortable, he refused to acknowledge it yet. It was the eye tattoo bearing marks to futuresight and it taxed him considerably to use it. Now was not the time to put himself in such a vulnerable position, not when Brin was MIA and a bothersome brat was left in the hands of—the warehouse came into view and Othello felt a wave of relief wash over him.
It was short-lived as he approached the gravel entryway and the roof blew off the warehouse, crashing down on the sidewalls and parking lot in large, flaming chunks. Several long tubes of angry red-orange fire streaked out, torching the four corners of the main supports on the building, belching out angry clouds of blackened smoke.
Swerving to the streetside, he propelled himself out of the car and started for the burning building, shedding his white coat. A red fire hydrant caught his eye and he paused to detour towards it, drawing a little black bottle from one coat pocket and pouring the contents over the heavy duty cap. It ate into the metal and a trickle of water began to spill through as he turned towards the building once more. His pale gold eyes began to flicker, going a milky-white shade before morphing to silver.
In his mind’s eye, Othello saw himself approach the crooked entrance door to the left of the burning building. He reached for the handle as a flaming streak of fire shot out, scorching his body and simultaneously setting him one fire.
The silver eyes fluxed, returning to gold as the man in white slowed his steps enough to see the stray bolt of fire crash through the door where he would have been moments before. He sighed, dodging to the side and ducking into the chaos. He traveled through his available eyes, quickly settling on the choice of X-ray vision, mixed with heat-vision, able to pick out which bodies were where.
When he found her, Othello considered the possibility that he was dreaming, because towering over two bound captives, was a flaming entity with the same familiar pull as the dark-haired girl from before. He hadn’t thought she was an elemental.
No, he corrected absently. She can’t be an elemental. Only the Echo family themselves can possess that power, elemental gifts are restricted to their very bloodline. That would mean that she-!
“My name is Ebony Echo.” She stretched two hands towards the quivering captives. “and I don’t echo.”
That registered, along with another twinge along his spine and Othello’s eyes flickered silver again, briefly touching on his futuresight to avoid another unnecessary mishap. The possible images danced through his head in rapid succession and Othello shook out the coat he’d tucked under his arm. This was going to be a headache.
“Look out!” Othello tackled her, the coat open to protect himself from the flaming figure as they crashed to the ground, several feet away as one burning beam crashed to the ground.
The figure twisted and jerked, struggling to free itself from the coat’s confines when Othello caught hold of it and jerked it upright. The fiery flames had faded away and a rather familiar human appearance greeted him. He slapped her upside the head. “Never burn the ceiling first you idiot!”
Ebony gawped at him in a cross of adorable confusion and cautious agreement. “Othello?” His name was carefully spoken.
“You weren’t going to mention you were Ebony Echo any time soon, were you?” He gave her a shake.
She coughed, wincing. “Not like you would’ve listened anyway.”
Something crashed behind them and Othello crouched, scooping her up easily in his arms. “We’re leaving.” He cast a glance around them, his grip tightening as he sprinted for the doorway.
Ebony didn’t protest. It was nice to be carried and she was very, very tired. She was drawing too heavily on powers she hadn’t had to use to such an extent on a fairly empty and tortured stomach. It was not the smartest thing she’d ever done, but it wasn’t the worst either, she decided, her arms half-looped around the neck of the man in white.
He was quick on his feet, she gave him that. He dodged the burning debris as if he knew exactly where each flaming pieces was about to come crashing down. His grip was strong, betraying that perhaps he wasn’t as human as he seemed.
Biting her lip, Ebony strained to look over his shoulder, trying to see the two men she’d left behind. She didn’t want to leave them—not in that state anyway—and she hadn’t finished questioning them either. A stab of frustration pierced her as she turned back to see where they were headed.
She caught the movement just out of the corner of her eye and as he sidestepped. It was only because running out of burning buildings usually meant her life depended on it, that Ebony reacted. She stretched out one hand towards the burning debris and blew out with all the frustration she had in her body. It generated a powerful blast of air pushing it up and out of the way, effectively clearing the path for Othello to sprint the last few yards to the safety.
Her relief was short-lived as she sagged limply in the strong arms, turning back to see the warehouse. Her jaw dropped as she saw the effects from such a powerful blast of air—upwards. The portion of roof she’d deflected now streaked upwards, ripping through the last threads of support, freeing one giant wall.
With a loud groan, the metal and wood slab wavered, then began to come down—straight for them!
Ebony felt the faint prickle of tears sprouting at the corners of her eyes. This was too much and for once, she didn’t know what to say.
(c) Sara Harricharan
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