Completely lost track of time, hate it when I do that. Here’s the next section for you.
Luke had to admire the irony of the world. No matter how hard you tried, you were never prepared when someone told you to be. What he was seeing was unbelievable, even by his new standards of reality. The cell he was staring into was scorched, almost beyond recognition. Even the window was warped and discolored, and from the blackened wall behind them, it had not been the first. Luke couldn’t help but be proud of the blackened walls and melted glass. They proved that Amelia had not given in; she had fought them every inch of the way, but his mood soured when his gaze fell upon the far corner. Where the bed had once stood was a dirty pile of ash and a puddle that once was a metal frame.
“Oh God.” Robert whispered coming up behind Luke. Amelia was huddled in the middle of the ash pile, her legs drawn to her chest, staring blankly at the wall. Flames blazed around her, both caressing and shielding her body from sight. Luke could barely make out her face, but what he did see threatened to break him.
“I need to get in there.” He said “I need to talk to her or something; I can’t just leave her like this.”
“She’s gone.” Dawn said quietly, “There’s nothing anyone can do now.”
“You’re wrong!” Luke cried, tears glistening in his eyes, “She’s a fighter; she’s too tough to just give up like this. She is in there and she needs my help!”
“It’s too dangerous,” Dawn replied earnestly “Look around you. The guards won’t even try to go near her; she attacks anyone who gets close”
“I’ll be fine.” Luke said with a wan smile, “She wouldn’t kill her only brother now would she?” With great trepidation, Luke opened the cell door. He wasn’t afraid for himself; he was terrified that Dawn might be right, that there was nothing he could do. The smell of soot and char wafted over him as he entered the room. It felt as though he had intruded into someone else’s domain, their part of reality.
“Amelia” Luke called quietly, his heart ripping itself apart at the sight before him. “Amelia, It’s Luke, you’re amazing twin brother. Please, look at me or something. I know you’re still in there, you’re too stubborn to let something like this break you. Amelia, please!” Slowly, like an animated doll, Amelia’s gaze drifted toward Luke.
“That’s right, over here, please. I know you’re okay, you have to be okay.” Amelia’s eyes met her twins, but all Luke could see were flames; like her mind and soul had been consumed leaving behind a lifeless husk. Even though they were only a few feet apart Luke felt like his sister was in a completely different universe. Then something else flickered in those flaming depths; recognition? Luke silently hoped it was so.
The flames around Amelia grew in intensity; her blonde hair changed to a hellish mane and her eyes burned like twin suns. The fire wasn’t just on her, it was her. His sister had become a being of pure flame.
Amelia stood up and reached out her hand. Relief swept over Luke, powerful enough to bring tears to his eyes, as he felt the gap between them closing. Some instinct said it was all wrong, but he refused to listen. He was reaching her.
Then with a feral howl, Amelia released her fire on him. The blast struck him in the chest, stealing his breath and throwing him against the wall. Luke felt the searing heat rush over his body, the light blinded him as the flames roared and cackled. His own power tried to come forth, to divert the hungry flames, but he was still drained from his earlier battle and the generator disrupted the little power he had.
The first thing Luke was aware of was time. There were no sounds, sights, or smells, but he was and time was flowing. It was as if he was floating on time. Then came sound; a single ringing note and through that, he heard muffled voices… and something else that he couldn’t identify. Then feeling started to return to his body; the hot concrete on his back and hands clasping his own with hot liquid flowing between them. Finally, Luke’s vision started to return. Light and color swam before his eyes, further disorienting him before, after an eternity, everything came into focus. Amelia was on her knees beside him, scarlet hair flowing over her shoulders. She clutched at his hand as she cried, her tears glowing orange and red. Luke could see Dawn in the doorway crying on Robert’s shoulder.
“You know sis,” he croaked squeezing his twin’s hand, “I always told you to watch your temper. Now look at you, you’re crying fire. Are you sure you’re human?”
“Luke!” Amelia exclaimed hugging her brother fiercely “I-I thought I’d killed you. I couldn’t stop myself. I was so scared.” Dawn and Robert were staring at the twin, disbelief and joy racing across their faces.
“I love you to Amelia,” Luke gasped struggling to sit up “But I also love air, the stuff you’re depriving me of at the moment.”
“Sorry” she said sitting back and wiping her scarlet eyes. All trace of the flames that had surrounded her was gone, but they had left their mark on her. The room was suddenly very quiet as the shock wore off. Quickly Luke turned his head the other way.
“Uh-um…… H-hey could one of you… you know, lend Amelia something?”
“Why?” she asked, tilting her head to the side. Then, as she stared at his blazing red face, realization dawned on her. With an ear-splitting screech, she darted to the nearest corner, where she huddled while her entire body flushed red.
“Here,” Dawn said with a scathing glare directed at Robert, who was laughing hysterically. She handed Amelia her sweater. Luke caught himself staring at Dawn; with her sweater off Luke could see she had quite the figure, she was stunning. She wore a neon green, sleeveless top that fit her very nicely. Dawn caught Luke’s stare and started turning pink with embarrassment.
“My Grandma bought it.” she mumbled fidgeting with her hands “She thinks I’m too shy, so she made me promise to wear it once a week.”
“It looks good on you” Luke said.
“If you’re quite done drooling” Amelia said standing up “We need to find a slightly more permanent solution to this problem.” Dawn’s gray sweater came down to her hips, it would be okay for now, but it wouldn’t for the long term.
“And what would you suggest?” Robert asked “Any clothes we find are going to flammable. One flare-up and we’re back to square one.”
“I believe I may have a solution to your problem.” A melodic voice said from behind them. Dread settled in Luke’s stomach as he turned, knowing what he would see. Gale stood in the doorway, a victorious smirk on his perfect face. “Hello there Mr. Rockwell. I must say I did not expect you to find your sister so soon; I was thinking it would take you at least a full day of searching. I assume that is what friends are for; Ms. Smith, Mr. Jones it is a pleasure to see you again. Well Mr. Rockwell, I am sure you have told them about your promotion.”
“Who’s the suit?” Amelia asked a tongue of fire escaping her clenched fist.
“I am so sorry my dear Ms. Rockwell; we have not been formally introduced, have we? My name is Gale, Mr. Gale if you are feeling formal. I am the one in charge of this facility, the guards, and your well-being.”
“What do you want Gale?” Luke asked wishing he could blast him with a powerful bolt.
“Oh, I’m just tying up loose ends before we divide everyone up. Most importantly I wanted o confirm that you will head the second group. I’m not sure Mr. Tate would be up to handling all of you.”
“Yeah, I’ll do it. Not like you’re really giving me much choice.”
“Of course.” Gale responded with a smirk “Secondly, I wished to inform you that my science team has been working on a special suit for your sister. I decided it would be prudent to be prepared if she ever… regained her composure. You can find them on the second level room #113. We shall release you into the city within a few hours; there are just some last minute details to take care of.”
“What about this?” Luke asked holding up the heavy bracelet.
“It will be removed while Ms. Rockwell is changing. Now I shall leave you to get prepared. Oh! One last thing, that guard who helped you and Mr. Jones. Do not bother looking for him. I had him… Reassigned.”
“Don’t like him,” Amelia commented after Gale had left. “Agreed?”
“Good to have you back sis.” Luke gasped as they all laughed.
Luke rubbed his wrist where the magnetic bracelet had been. The lab tech had scurried in, released the mechanism, and scurried out without saying a single word. Probably scared I would try to blast my way out once I had access to my powers or something like that Luke thought. Not that the idea hadn’t occurred to him, but he didn’t know where everyone was located and he was drained after his confrontation with Jack.
“So, we’re stuck here for a while” Amelia summed up from the makeshift changing room. Seems hi-tech laboratories could only come up with a sheet and two coat racks to protect people’s privacy.
“Yep, stuck here with two super-powered crazies and their posses. We’re really in trouble this time.”
“We’re not powerless ourselves, plus we‘ve got allies.”
“Yeah,” Luke laughed “an obsessive –compulsive artist and a frightened, invisible wall-flower. That’s a power-packed team if I ever saw one.” Luke started massaging his temples with one hand “We are soooo doomed.”
“Are you done getting it all off your chest?” Amelia asked taking down the sheet.
“Yeah,” Luke said checking out Amelia’s new outfit. The baggy, heavy-duty clothe wasn’t stylish, but someone with a sense of humor had spiced it up with a flame motif. The white suit and red design did look fairly good overall.
“Hey Luke,” Amelia said softly as she sat next to her brother. “How did you survive that fire I threw at you? Is it something to do with your own power?”
“No.” Luke said letting some sparks fly from his fingers “It tried to do something, but that stupid bracelet was messing with the currents.” Luke put his hands in his pockets as he considered the problem. “What in the…” he muttered as he pulled out his hand, it was covered in ash. “Amelia, I think I just figured it out.” Luke said shaking out the contents of his pocket.
“What’s that?” she asked studying the pile of ash.
“Robert’s drawing; it has to be what saved me.” Luke said wonderingly.
“Guess he’s a better ally than you let on.” Amelia replied smugly.
“Speaking of Robert,” Luke said, “Why was he searching for you this morning? He seemed quite distraught at not being able to locate you, though as far as I know you two barely know each other. Any particular reason for this strange behavior?”
“No, not really” Amelia replied airily.
“So should I be prepared to call you Mrs. Jones or is this an informal relationship?”
“Wh-What!?” Amelia spluttered fury in her eyes. “What in that overstuffed head of yours made you think that was even a remote possibility?” Smoke started to curl from between her clenched fingers as waves of heat rolled off of her. “You’re still just an incorrigible pervert! I should fry your sorry butt right here, right now!”
“Please don’t,” Luke said plucking at the giant hole in his shirt “I don’t think this poor thing can take much more of this rough stuff.” Amelia took a deep breath and the room’s temperature started dropping back down.
“I guess if you’re that curious about it I’ll tell you. Remember when I told you about that Reaper goon I beat up? Well, he was messing with a freshman… Robert’s little sister actually. Seems Robert and a few other kids have been causing the Reapers a lot of grief. Attacking them directly was pointless, the Reaper avoid killing people to stay on the police’s good side, so Jack decided to threaten their friends and family. The threats seemed to be working, no more raids or ambushes on the Reapers. Then somebody pushed Robert too far, no idea who or what they did, but he retaliated in a big way. That goon I bashed was going to make good on their threats. Robert came running up afterwards looking for her; he was pretty beaten up too so I figure they jumped him as well. He swore he would pay me back for helping; guess whatever they had planned wasn’t something that would heal easily. He even said some Reaper victims never really recover.”
“You’re amazing sis.” Luke said with a smirk.
“Not really,” she replied in a small, bitter voice “Not even twelve hours later he saves me.” She started shivering.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Luke asked wrapping his arms around his sister “That fight…I should have been quicker. I was supposed to be covering you…I’m sorry Amelia. I won’t allow them to touch you again, I swear!”
“It’s fine.” Amelia said extricating herself from her brother’s embrace and moving to the center of the room. “Besides if they try touching me again I’ll have a little surprise for them. The teenage girl then burst into a column of raging flame, melting the floor beneath her.
“Now that we know this suit works,” she said as the flames died, “We’re going to need to get you a new outfit.” A mischievous glint danced in her scarlet eyes.
“Uh, I uh need to go, do stuff like… bye!” Luke yelled dashing for the door while Amelia smiled wickedly.
The occupant of room #114 felt an almost forgotten stirring in her chest. Maybe, just maybe, she could still succeed. It would be extremely difficult, maybe impossible, but if she could get them to release her… it was a small hope, but it would work if she could keep her actions hidden from HIM. With the seeds of hope firmly planted in her breast she began weaving her song, and praying that miracles really did exist.