Click, Click, Click… the heels of a young woman sound through the abandoned streets of New York. The city’s’ sounds echo across, far in the distance. The street is dark, most of the lampposts are dead, or else flickering unevenly. The woman is undaunted, cheeks flushed from the cold, a determined look on her nearly perfect face. Her trench coat flutters behind her, bulky at the back, as she clicks through the streets.
Looking around her, she suddenly stops at an old abandoned warehouse. Looking into the windows, she spots a faint flickering on the second story. Eyes narrowing she clicks over the uneven pavement towards the rusty heap of what must have been a door.
With tremendous effort, the woman manages to pull the door open wide enough so that she could squeeze through. The air was filled with dust, she coughed it from her system, putting her shirt over her mouth and nose. She found the broken heaps of wood that was a stairway, and precariously walked up.
The upstairs was even more unstable than downstairs, so she went through quickly, avoiding areas that groaned when she stepped on them. The room she was looking for had the door wide open. She stepped inside and stared sullenly at its occupant.
A man sat on a plush velvet chair, probably brought in, since anything in here before they came would have rotted away beyond use. A small table, also new looking, stood close by.
“Falcon, how nice to see you.” She narrowed her eyes. “Or should I just call you miss Lee, since I know you’re family so well. By the way, how are they doing?” Lee felt panic rise up inside her, but forced it down and just stared at him. He sighed. “Very well, if it has to be that way then it must.” He snapped his fingers loudly. Lee half expected the building to collapse. Then she heard the heavy metal doors slam behind her.
Lee silently cursed at herself for not expecting the Snake to have guards. They must have been hiding somewhere before she came into the room. Her eyes flickered to the window.
“No no no! I would never let a guest fall to their death!” said the man, “The windows are bolted shut. Now please have a seat so we can have a nice conversation.” He smiled malevolently. She looked around, they were alone.
“I prefer to stand.” She spat. There was no mistaking the venom in her words, but the man just smiled wider.
“Lovely voice. Never heard it in person before. Almost as lovely as its user. No matter. We shall proceed.” He pulled out a tape recorder and set it lightly on the table.
Lee looked at the tape, and her defiant stance slumped, her anger contorted into pain, and all the fight went out of her. She closed her eyes and tried to clear her head. The dust in the air seemed to get thicker until she was gasping for air. The man watched triumphantly.
“So? You know what this is? Oh, and I never did hear about your family…” he smiled even more. Her jaw tightened, and she felt a new inferno burst up inside her. She knew what that tape held alright. Which one had died? Her mother? So sweet and fretful and good-natured. Her father? Strong-willed and a problem solver, always knew what to do. Her brother? Only 13, so much to live for, with his everything’s-going-to-be-alright smile…
Had anyone even heard their tortured screams? No, of course not. The Snake would be to careful for that. She swallowed.
“What do you want?” she said, trying not to let her voice crack.
“Why, you miss Lee. I’m surprised you haven’t figured it out yet. I need you to help me with getting the things I want. Although if, you would want to keep going against me, then well, there’s a bunker out there where no one can hear human screams…”
Lees’ breath caught. This was an impossible decision! She had to find her family, but, the city would be in chaos. There would be nothing she could do to stop the tyranny of him taking over. She needed to think of a plan. But it seemed he had her in check mate. The windows were bolted, if she tried to escape through the door the guards would get her for sure. If she tried to hack away at the wall there was a good chance the whole building would collapse. The Snake watched her look around frantically for an escape.
“Oh, you didn’t think I would be careful of you? Fool! I made sure no one will here your screams, no one will look for you, or at least, a young woman named Lee. I’m sure the people will be looking for the winged heroine Falcon, but when I’m done with you, you’ll just be another woman off the streets!” He cackled loudly at his own words.
Suddenly, she threw off her trench coat, beating her body-length silvery white wings furiously, stirring up the dust around them, to a point in which neither could see. They both coughed ferociously, bringing in the guards to settle the scuffle. The guards both crumpled to the floor along with the Snake. Wings extended, Falcon crouched and looked around her, watching for any more guards. Quickly she folded her wings up and hurried over to the Snake to search him.
She checked his pockets, threw off his coat, and tore up the blood-red lining. Searching, searching. Finally, she found a map, looked at it, she found that it was the building in which they were in! He had written his own notes, one of which saying where her family was being held.
How clever, if she had somehow escaped, this would be one of the last places she would have looked. It also might have been the first, considering the Snake had a residence here, so the Snake was also taking a huge gamble. This place was rigged with booby traps of course, but they were easily avoidable with the map. He probably never dreamed that she could still make one more move in this game.
She hurried through the door onto the first floor. Feeling around a spot with her feet by an especially rusty piece of metal, her foot caught on a thin metal sheet. She lifted it up and plunged into the trapdoor.
Lee could tell this was a new attachment, it wasn’t as dusty, and the metal around her looked shiny under the dust. She consulted the map, and walked in quickly, taking off her shoes so as not to hint to any… thing that she was here. There were lights in the ceiling so sight was not an issue. It reminded her somewhat of a hospital, cold and bright, all except the dust. Suddenly, she heard screaming.
She hurried to the sound, disregarding what the map told her, as she recognized it as her brothers’, mothers’, and fathers’ voices and ran as fast as she could. Finally, she got to its origin, a tape recorder suspended from a wire. It had a white piece of paper on it with big bold letters. Ironic actually, as it said: