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Twenty Two

 

Jeff stood protectively in front of me, shielding me from the ongoing fight. I was frozen. Not because Sabrina told me to stand still, but because I was frozen with fear. I was frightened.

And then I heard someone shouting my name. Two someones. I turned and saw Logan and John bounding towards me and I knew right then that I had to make a decision between the two. Had to choose. Had to choose now. And I did. I knew, deep down in my heart, I knew who I loved. Which was why I found myself being held tightly in Logan’s arms. I squeezed him as tight as I could, burying my face in his chest. And when he pulled away, I thought I squeezed a little too tight or did something wrong. Until he leaned down and kissed me. I didn’t know how much he loved me until that kiss. It was full of so much feeling and emotion. Full of love and worry and passion. He had been frightened, he had thought he lost me. Again. I melted into that kiss. It was more magical than any of the kisses I had shared with John. It was the best thing in the world. And then someone shouted, ending the magical moment.

“What the hell?!” John yelled, only a few feet behind us. “What the actual hell is going on?”

Logan and I pulled apart, panting slightly. Guilt panged at my heart but I knew it had to happen sooner or later. I didn’t want it to happen this way but it happened and there was no turning back and quite frankly, I didn’t regret that kiss. Not at all. I had expected to see hurt and sorrow in pain in John’s eyes. And I did. But I also saw anger and hatred in his eyes and that overpowered the sadness. Within seconds, he threw himself at Logan, tackling him to the ground. I screamed, watching the horror unfold between my eyes. John was noticeably stronger than Logan, his muscles were huge. But Logan was still pretty strong and managed to shove John aside to wriggle his way out from under him. However John was back on Logan in an instant, landing blow after blow in Logan’s face.

“You piece of filth! You piece of shit!” John spat at a now blood covered Logan. Logan’s right eye was swollen shut, black and blue. His nose was bleeding, blood squirting out. His lips were cracked and bloody. He looked like a train wreck. I watched with tear filled eyes, unable to move. Frozen in place once more.

“John, stop it! Cut it out!”

My mom was running up to us, panic on her face. “This is not what we came here to do. Knock it off!” She grabbed John’s hand just as he was about to land another punch to Logan’s face. He faltered and that was all my mom needed to shove John aside. She helped Logan up, who was beaten so badly he couldn’t even mutter a simple “thank you.”

I shook myself back to reality and went to Logan’s side, I wrapped an arm supportively around his waist and brought him to a nearby bench. Passersby had stopped to watch the fight, grimacing. They started to move again when it had dispersed.

“Are you okay?” I asked, helping him sit down. He nodded weakly.

“Carmen!”

I looked up and saw Austin bounding to me. I stood up and gave him a tight embrace, hugging him so tight, he had to struggle to say his next words.

“I can help you.”

I let go of him. “What? How?” I asked, searching for the answer in his eyes.

“My powers. They aren’t useful in a fight but they can help you. I can help you reach your powers again. I just need to hold your hands.” He explained.

My head bobbed up and down. “Okay, here.” I grabbed his hands with mine. He clasped a firm grip around my hands, squeezing tightly. I felt a tingling rush of energy surge from his palms and into my hands. I felt it spread throughout my body, warming my blood, refueling mej, awakening me, bringing me back to life it seemed. He let go of my hands suddenly, letting them drop down to my sides.

“Is it down?” I asked, my voice in awe. He nodded. “I don’t know how to control my powers, though.” I said.

Austin shrugged. “I mean, in all the superhero movies I watched, they came through just when things got messy, like when they were facing a life threatening challenge. Maybe you’ll gain control now, feel the need within you.”

I shrugged. “Let’s hope.” And then there was a shrill scream, one that came from my mother. She was doubled over, seeming to be in pain. Timothy hovered over her, a malicious grin on his face. He slammed the butt of the gun into her head again and she collapsed to the floor.

“Mom!” I shouted, running to her side. SHe lay in a heap on the ground. Timothy laughed. “You monster!” I shouted at him. “This is our mother! Your mother!”

“So? She gave me away, remember? Did the same thing to you, sis.” He said.

“I’m going to kill you.” I said through gritted teeth.

“Ha, no you won’t. You’re too soft to-”

Just like what John did to Logan, I leaped up at Timothy and tackled him to the ground. His gun skidded from his hand and across the floor, coming to a stop in front of Colin, who stared dumbly at it. I  wrapped my hands around his throat, crushing his windpipe, just like he did to me in the car. I willed the heat to come, called on it, commanded it to project out of my palms. Timothy screamed and jolted out of my grasp. His skin was singed, bright red, a little bit of black crisping it.

“Ow!” He shouted and let out a curse.

I leaped at him again, hands out, He dodged to the side but not before I managed to clip him in the jaw. He stumbled backwards and fell down hard on his butt. I used that moment to jump on top of him, kneed him in the chin, hid head thrusting backwards with a sickening crack. But I knew he was far from being finished.

With the force of a hundred men, he threw me off of him. I flew through the air and landed at Logan’s feet. He helped me up with a shaking hand and I darted back to Timothy, wincing as I ran. And then I heard another scream.

Oliver jumped off of Sabrina and was running around in circles, swatting around his face, his arms almost invisible as they flailed at supersonic speed. He was screaming, yelling at something that I couldn't see.  Still lying on the floor, I saw Sabrina staring intently at him, an evil grin twisting her lips.

“It’s not real! It’s not real!” I shouted, hoping he could hear me. “It’s an illusion! It’s fake!” I didn’t know what he was seeing but it must have been bad. He was screaming, crying out in agony at the unseen threat. And then I was falling. Falling face first into the ground as Timothy plunged into me. My head snapped to the side, pain shot through my body. I cried out in pain.

“Where’s airport security when you need it?” I groaned out through clenched teeth. I let out a low sigh, still hating what I had to say to morph. “Gorilla got your tongue?” I snarled, my voice cutting off in a loud roar that seemed to start out in my chest and project at a deafening pitch through my now extremely big mouth. Timothy flew off of me and landed on his back a few feet away. Shrieks from the surrounding travelers were heard as they stared at the monstrosity before them. I pounded my chest threateningly and then gunfire. Loud, deafening bangs, in repeated bursts. BAM BAM BAM.

A bullet hit my back. I cried out in pain, which was a deafening thing to hear. Slowly, I shifted back to my normal body and flopped down on my stomach, crying out loudly.

With a shaking hand, I fumbled along my back until I found the wound. The hole wasn’t big but it wasn’t small either. My fingers just barely felt the cold metal of the bullet wedge in my skin. Wincing, I got as good a grip as I could get on it and pulled. It moved a bit but didn’t come out. I gave it another weak pull. It shifted, coming lose, moving ever so slightly. One more pull resulted into the bullet flying out along with a pulsing flow of blood. I quickly covered the wound with my hand, fingers splayed. Go away, go away. I thought. Close up, close up. Heal, please, heal.

 I felt the hole slowly close up, felt it scab over. That was good enough. I’d finish it later. I jumper to my feet, the sudden movement sending a wave of pain through my body. Timothy was laying on the floor, on his back. His face was twisted in agony. John was on top of him, screaming in his face, though I couldn’t hear what he was saying. My ears were still ringing from the gunshots.

And then John was pulling himself off of Timothy, leaving him there, leaving him to writhe in pain. And he was stalking over to Logan, something silver and shiny gleaming in his hand.

“John, no!” I shouted, but my shouts were indifferent to him. He was headed toward Logan, who was sitting on the bench, eyes closed, head lolling to the side, weak. Unconscious, probaby. Defenseless.

“John, stop! Don’t do it, please!” I yelled through a stream of tears.

“Do it, John!” Timothy yelled, who was now pulling himself up. “Do it! Do it now!”

“No!” I sprinted towards John, who was now running full speed to Logan, dagger in hand. I wouldn’t make it in time. I wouldn’t be able to stop the bloodlust that filled his eyes. He was no more than five feet away now. Four, three, two. Now he was only a foot away. He raised his arm up high and, with as much force as he could muster, brought the dagger down, aiming it at Logan’s chest. There was a shrill scream of agony and then, silence.

I ran over, tears spewing down my cheeks. John sank to his knees and buried his face into his palms, crying. Logan was sitting up on the bench, his left eyes halfway open, his mouth ajar. He stared fearfully at John. Reluctantly, his eyes lifted up to see me running towards him. I sighed with relief when I saw he was okay. But then every muscle tightened when I saw what had happened.

John had missed Logan, miraculously. However the dagger was now wedged inside a chest. A human chest. One that no longer moved up and down. One that was still and lifeless. John had killed Felix.

He had jumped in front of the dagger just before it plunged into Logan’s heart. It was stuck now in Felix;s, blood seeping through the wound. I cried out, a different kind of pain spreading throughout my body, twisting my heart. I crawled over to Felix on hands and knees and, knowing he was dead, knowing he hadn't survived, I still pressed my fingers to his neck. Searching desperately for a pulse. Nothing. I pounded my fists on his chest, hoing he’d wake up. His dark eyes remained glossy and lifeless. I closed his eyelids and backed away.

Timothy was up now and backing away. It was him. His fault. He had compelled John to kill Logan. I could see it in his eyes and I could see it in John, who was shaking with heavy sobs. Timothy. It was his fault. He wanted John to kill Logan and Felix, trying to be heroic, stepped in the way. And had sacrificed his life for John’s All Timothy’s fault.

He could see the rage in my eyes, the bloodlust, the anger, the hatred. That was why he was retreating. That’s why he was helping Sabrina to her feet and heading to an exit, Colin on their heels. He knew he wouldn’t stand a chance against me right then. He knew he had a small chance of making it back to his master alive.

I wanted to go after him but they were leaving. For how long I didn’t know but I didn’t feel like starting another fight. Didn't want this to go on all night. Logan needed medical attention. Maybe I could use my healing touch but I needed to do it now. Or in the car. 

Just when I thought the night couldn’t get any worse, John lunged for the dagger, ripped it out of Felix;s chest and aimed it at his own. Booker tackled him down before I could, yanking the dagger away, throwing it across the floor. John tried shoving Booker off of him but Booker kept a firm grasp. I was soon by his side, helping John to his feet, trying to stop his thrashing.

“Let me die!” He wailed. “Let me die!”

“No, John, you are not dying. Not today.” I said, bringing him to the exit opposite the one Timothy walked out of. 

“Please.” He said. “Please, Carmen, don’t let me live.” His cries ached my heart. I winced. I wouldn’t let him die. 

Oliver was by my side then, vibrating to a stop. “Let me take him. I can get him back to the house before you guys can and lock him up.” I nodded and handed John over to Oliver, who flung John over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. And then they were gone. I retraced my steps and helped Logan to his feet.

“Come on. Let’s get out of here.”

In all of this chaos, I had completely forgotten about my mom. I saw her shift slightly out of the corner of my eyes. I let go of Logan and rushed over to her side.

“Mom, are you alright?” I asked, turning her over on her back.

“I'll be fine.” She said, wincing. I helped her to her feet and guided her to the exit. Austin helped Logan who was limping. Booker did the heartaching task of carrying Felix’s body to the car.

“Come on.” I said. “Let’s go home."


Submitted: January 14, 2021

© Copyright 2021 H.M. Pierce. All rights reserved.

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