Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Meta Corps: Dream of the Youth (Part 13)

  Chapter 17

             Sarra’s spasms ended and she regained control of herself, not counting some smaller jitters here and there.
 Sarra turned to see her sisters approach and sneered. She predicted that Lora would ask if she was all right, forgoing duty. Sarra looked past her sister and saw Tench fall to the earth, clearly injured and unable to fly properly. She saw that Clive was above him with a rocking arm.
 Sarra answered before Lora could ask.
 “I’m always going to be alright, you putz! Why worry about me when Tench is falling? Gaia’s Rose, Lora!”
 Sarra shot past her sister. Lora watched her leave and was surprised to see that Clive’s icy appendage was being sucked up into the eye with its owner not far behind. Below, she saw Tench plummet to the earth. Lora gasped and followed Sarra.
Clive had dislodged Tench with his swing, but he found that the eye had caught his appendage in the process. Displeased at the thought of losing his arm to another dimension, Clive wrapped his free arm around the ice and flew in the other direction. The pillar of ice turned ninety degrees, and the eye got a better grip. Clive forced his panic away; he was losing. A chunk of concrete half the size of his body rushed at him.
 “Oh shit, no you don’t!” Clive looked around, afraid to move in any other direction. He was smacked before he could attempt anything, and was sucked up within moments.
 Sarra caught up with Tench, grabbed him, and held him in a fireman’s carry as she flew back to Lora. She saw Clive get sucked up and felt a pang of elation.
 “Serves you right, blow hole!”
 Sarra flew back to Lora, who inspected Tench without a word. Tench was immobile but conscious, and looking up at the eye.
 “Clive is gone.” Lora called. She held onto her arm.
 Sarra scoffed.
 “Good riddance. Make him suffer his own cosmic void.”
 Lora looked up at the eye.
 “Now what, Sarra? How do we stop it?”
 Sarra looked away; she didn’t have an answer.
 The wind suddenly picked up, and the three were caught. Lora shrieked and grabbed for her sister. Sarra was caught by surprise, both by the sudden gale and Lora’s lunge. She backed away from Lora and hit a current where the gust was stronger. Sarra’s liquid body enfolded Tench in awkward swirls as they tumbled out of control toward the eye.
Lora watched them disappear into the vortex.
 “Sarra!” She held her bloodied arm up as if she herself could stretch. She saw red and yellow spots accompanying lightheadedness and gasped. She shook her head, grimaced, and wondered what to do. Save the city, or her sister. Lora bit her lip and decided to defy fate by choosing both. She mustered all her courage and dove upward, straight into the eye of the storm.
On the ground, Morgan cowered behind a stationary piece of rubble, watching as Anne’s power grew. She had never witnessed psychic power of that magnitude, and both the scientific doctor, and former practitioner in her was deeply curious. She sat quietly and watched.
Anne rose up to the eye and stopped at the event horizon. She tried to look around, but swirling flakes of dust got in her eyes. She cried and wished for nothing more but for her pain to go away.

                               Chapter 18

             Lora awoke, too groggy to open her eyes. She sat up and felt like she was in a tank of syrup. She made a moan and it echoed for several seconds. Lora opened her eyes, furrowed her brow and stood up.
“Well this is funny…” She said to herself. Her words echoed away and came back.
 Lora was in a playroom filled with toys that seemed one and a half times larger as they should be. Lora walked up to a nearby teddy bear, it having the proportions of a carnival prize.
 “Hello.” She felt a little foolish. “You wouldn’t know what happened, would you?”
Her query echoed against the absolute quiet. The bear was not responsive.
She still felt like she was lying down. Lora turned and caught sight of a pink and yellow blur. She stumbled back in the thick as molasses air, and slowly fell to the ground. She noticed that her hands were creating trails. Lora made a soft landing on her butt.
 “Scared of my own shadow… What is going on?”
 She stood up and flew into the air to get a better look around.
 The florescent lit ceiling resembled a sky, but without a logical light source. She could see the ceiling tiles represented as an impressive moiré pattern. The rest of the expansive room was even more of an enigma.
 The playroom stretched to infinity in all directions; the horizon being a thin black line with dots of multi colored toys as it stretched. Toys of all kinds dotted the floor below in a terrible clutter, all bigger than they would be normally but each proportionate with each other.
 “Dang, I must have shrunk. Hello?” Lora called. Her voice carried far across the emptiness. She tilted her head, her call taking on a life much, much longer than it should with the empty acoustics.
 “Yeah.” A croaky voice rang out from all directions.
Lora turned around, searching for evidence of her sister. Her own odd trail got in her way and she ended up seeing into her own eyes. Lora gasped, waved her hand to clear the illusion, and then moved out of the way. She noticed that her trail from when she was in front of the bear was fading.
 “Oh, Sarra, I’m glad you’re alright. Where are you?”
 Lora saw her sister rise up from a mound of blocks. A trail followed her with such precision that it might as well have been her elastic body. They spotted each other.
 “That’s what I want to know.” Sarra said.
 “Where’s Tench? What is this place?”
 Sarra looked around. She held her hands out.
 “My sarcasm fails me…”
 Lora covered her mouth and chuckled.
 “Oh wow.”
 Sarra stared into her. Lora grimaced, apologized, and looked around.
 “Tench can’t be far, can he?”
 Sarra snorted.
 “I don’t know, I think he was hurt. It might be a little hard to find him.”
 Lora gasped.
 “He’s hurt? Oh no. Tench!”
Lora sped off, calling for him. Sarra threw her arm out to stop her sister.
“Whoa, whoa!” Sarra called.
The speed at which Lora flew off, and Sarra’s stretching her arm was fair, but painfully slow. Sarra imagined that it was something like having the mindset for super speed but not the power.
 Several seconds later, Sarra wrapped her arm around Lora’s, she experienced a slow motion whiplash, which would not have hurt had both her arms not been injured, one far more than the other. Lora howled and her stars returned as Sarra retrieved her. Lora blinked and fought back tears.
“Hey, that… thing came in here first, and I’ll be lost in the Void before I see it again, although given this place, that might not be far from the truth. I want to make sure that you don’t get eaten too.” Sarra said.
 Lora nodded and bit her lip, tears streaming down her face.. She caught sight of Tench hovering up from behind Sarra. He looked as if he would fall from the air from sheer exhaustion. Lora smiled and hovered up to give him a one armed hug.
“You’re okay.”
Tench nodded.
“Yeah, I’ll live, I’m fine. Hey, I need to tell you that that thing’s Clive Ogden.” His voice was small.
 “I’ve heard of him.” Lora said. “I knew that he could attack with electricity, and that he’s British, but I didn’t know he could stretch.”
 “That’s Clive?” Sarra asked with an outward show of disbelief.
 Tench nodded.
 “Yeah, he caused Bronson some trouble in 1970. We think that he may have caused those gauntlets to lose their elasticity, but it’s just a guess.”
 “How would he do that?” Lora asked, twisting a gauntlet on her arm.
 Tench shrugged.
 “I don’t know; let’s find out where we are before worrying about a villain’s origin story. How’s your arm? Is it as bad as it looks?”
 Lora’s entire left shoulder was caked with blood. Her EnWol silver suit was not hurt. She resisted rubbing the wound.
 “It’s hurting, but I can make it… I don’t think that there are any broken bones, thank goodness. Are you sure you’re okay, Tench?”
 “I’m shaken up, but fine. I’m more concerned about where we are.”
 Sarra crossed her arms.
 “Well, I was turned to goo, and I’m psychologically traumatized. Otherwise, I’m hunky-dory too.” She said with a curled lip.
 Tench rolled his eyes.
 “Come on; let’s find something that will help.”
Sarra scoffed.
 “Like what? An Ozmone Board?”
Tench and Lora chose to ignore her.
 Down below, Clive watched them. He had not moved from where he started; a cage made of blocks. The ice around his arm was gone and he was whole. He watched the trio fly away. Their odd shadows and overgenerous echoes made it easy to keep tabs on them. Clive left his cage and followed them, keeping low to the ground.
 “Are we dead?” Sarra asked. She heard her quip about the Ozmone Board come shooting back to her and wished that she could swat it away like a fly.
 “I don’t think so.” Tench said. “The Tree wouldn’t have toys as far as the eye could see. As for what caused this, and how Clive is involved, I’m pretty clueless.” His words slurred and he had little jitters here and there.
 Sarra moved her arm up and down. The trails went through her, and impressions of her side continued behind her. She closed her fist a finger at a time and reopened it.
 “This place is weird. I don’t feel tired, but… I haven’t felt this tired since the night before I put the gauntlets on the very first time. On the other hand, how could we be in such a thick atmosphere without being able to see it? I don’t even see any haze in the distance.”
 “Yeah, it’s crazy.” Tench said.
 “I almost feel… like I’m swimming?” Lora said with her southern California accent peeking out.
 Tench nodded and agreed.
 “Foolish mortals, I am the water…” Sarra muttered to herself.
 The trio flew off with Clive following not far behind, unsure of where to go since the world was the same as far as the eye could see.
Tench laughed after a minute.
 “You know, it may be a wild guess, but I have a five year old cousin that—”
 Tench never finished. A yellow tendril with a looped eye grabbed him by the ankle and pulled him to the ground. He disappeared behind some toys; his trail looking like a blue and black smoke signal. Lora chased after him with Sarra not far behind.
 “Tench!” Lora yelled.
 Tench clawed at whatever he could find. He was turned around to see Clive smiling at him. Tench started to fight back, but he felt a twitchy pain again. Clive also felt a tingle; something was wrong.
 Clive exploded.
 Lora and Sarra were just above. Clive’s molten sediment flew out in all directions with Tench flowing along aimlessly. Lora tried to protect herself from Clive’s onslaught, but she could not raise her arm to her face. Sarra swooped in and covered her sister. The bright bits of Clive looked to have landed after a moment, and Tench’s trail was lost in it. The expansive room seemed to prefer the quiet because the explosion did not echo.
The sisters scanned the area; Lora’s hard breathing being the only noises. Sarra no longer had to breathe.
 Lora stuttered.
 “Wow Sarra, I want to get out of here.” Lora was on the verge of tears.
 “You think I don’t?” Sarra snapped. “Something blew up and killed Tench—”
 “—and I don’t want to be here when it gets one of us!”
 “You—” Lora sniffed hard. “You think he’s dead, Sarra?”
 Sarra searched for any sort of indication that suggested the contrary, but found nothing. She growled and crossed her arms.
 “Anything’s possible in the land where very bad toys go to die...”
 Lora sniffed again.
 Clive’s body regrouped on its own, one of the things about his change for which he was grateful. He finished reforming while lying down. He looked up at the ceiling that may have been light years away, feeling his meta born electricity flow through him.
 Clive paid attention to his body and how it felt, and wondered why he exploded. From what he could tell, he still looked like a normal human. His defining powers were functioning, and the intense whole-body wobble from being a sentient puddle of goo was, sadly, doing its job.
 “What in a vacant void was that?” Clive wondered.
 He saw Lora and Sarra out of the corner of his eye.
 “So, where do we find Tench? What’s your bright idea, leader?” Sarra spat.
 Lora grimaced. Her shoulder was pulsing and burning. She bit her lip, trying to ignore the pain of her bloodied appendage, and pointed with her good arm.
 “This way?” She wiped her eyes.
 Sarra’s head on a long neck appeared in Lora’s field of vision.
 Lora felt the pit of her stomach burn white hot and the heat needed a release.
 “I don’t know, Sarra! Gaia, I’m not as analytical as you are when it comes to this kind of thing. Why don’t you lead then, please. Which way?” Lora cried again.
 Sarra bit her lip, wondering if she should do the sisterly thing and console her. She figured that she would do it later; being stuck in the strangest wasteland beyond what they could imagine was not the right place to show sisterly love. Sarra shrugged.
 “Fine, this way. These trails do fade though, so we could get stuck somewhere.”
 Lora searched for any signs of life that wasn’t their own trails. The explosion was fading away; the ends of it spreading out like the incident inverted.
 From the ground, Clive saw Lora point with her chin and they flew off. Clive slunk up like a snake. He was still confused about the blast, but he was also still willing to keep stalking the heroes. Clive pondered which of the two sisters to grab, waiting for them to stop.
 “I love the hunt, even with the unpredictable nuances. Which one though, the sweet one or the spicy one? They’re both so different.”
 Neither of the sisters had said much on the journey. They flew to the horizon to seek a comfort that would not be found from behind.
 Clive became impatient and quickened his pace. He took the strategy a little differently than with Tench. Since Sarra was EnWol, grabbing her by the ankle and pulling would separate her foot from her leg and alert them of his presence. Clive took the direct approach. He charged his electricity and flew through the thick atmosphere without a sound. He captured Sarra in a sort of pocket and dove into the ground in an arc. Lora could only process that Sarra was eaten by a yellow ribbon. The end of the arc exploded much in the same way that Tench’s encounter had. Hot mantle and bits of silver Sarra traveled in all directions. It was over in less than three seconds.
Lora hovered, stunned at the action and unsure of how to react. The sound dissipated into the quiet and only the trails remained. There was no trace of Sarra to be found.
 Lora could hear herself breathing. She looked around.
 “Okay…” she chuckled nervously. She searched for a deity to appease; she thought it would be Clive.
 “I’m sorry? I guess?” She yelled. Her voice cracked. She immediately cleared her throat and tried again. There was no reply except for her echo. The trails from Sarra and the second explosion had faded away after several moments.
 Lora gulped and found that she was unable to get her bearings. She pointed ahead and flew.
 “I think it was this way?” No reply. Lora gulped. “Okay… Here I go…”
Lora began to fly, unsure of where she was going or where she was headed. There was nothing to be found. The oversized toys repeated in a random pattern the further Lora flew. Pastel pink, blue and green teddy bears, blocks, yo-yos, and dolls sat motionless on top of a dark blue carpet. Lora shivered; outside of her own noises echoing back, the eerie quiet proved that there was nothing fun in the jubilant void.
A thought tingled in the back of her mind. If she were trapped, alone, than how would she cope? There was no one to be seen or heard from. Lora could be all alone for eternity, locked at age eighteen and her mind still processing a normal flow of time. She would surely go mad, alone in toy land.
What was the opposite of love but being alone?
 Lora’s breath caught and her heart pounded. She turned around and flew under her own trail, inches from the toys.
 “Sarra? Tench? Oh please someone! Please answer!”
There was a crash behind her, an odd sound in this environment. Lora gasped, swooped upward, and scanned the area behind her.
 There was only her honey blonde trail.
 “Sarra? Tench?”
 She bit her lip.
 “Clive?” She said in a small voice.
 Lora sighed, wondering if she had made the crash by flying too low. She turned around and found Clive Ogden, hovering before her.
 Lora gasped; her heart pounded. Clive smiled. Lora raised her hand to try to freeze him, and nearly collapsed under the pain. Clive wrapped Lora’s arm up in a cocoon and they met, nose to nose. He let off an electrical charge.
 “Yes, love. I’m here. What do you want?” His voice was smooth and hushed.
 Lora’s shoulder was in agony. Her vision blurred with tears and she sniffed. She clenched her fist on her bloodied arm. Clive intensified his charge and he was pleased to see Lora squeak.
 “Aww, Pink Lemon can’t handle the tartness? Why not just get used to it?” Clive upped the amperage and Lora screamed.
Clive laughed.
 “Look at you, a pathetic excuse for an EnWol; it doesn’t even seem like you can stretch.”
 Lora clenched and released her fist. Bits of snow formed between her fingers and solidified. She tried to speak but her words were cut off by her own short breaths.
 Clive frowned with mock intent.
 “Aw, can’t talk? Mighty EnWol? Or should I say… human?”
Lora’s breathing deepened and tears streamed down her face.
 “What is it? Before I kill you.” Clive asked. His low voice became gravely.
 Lora looked up at him and smiled.
 “Have… have an ice day.”
 She screamed with numbing pain as she blasted a stream of cold air in Clive’s face.
 Clive screeched and let go. Lora smiled, despite being reminded of her wounded arm. She wished that removing the gauntlets would heal her.
Clive tried to wipe the ice from his face. His head was numb, and he lost his sight. He moved his vocal and optic relays to his hand, holding it out to find Lora.
 “Oh, you’ll, pay for that you fool!”
 Clive charged, and Lora got ready for another round to toss. Clive’s body radiated with electricity. Lora gulped and drew as much moisture from the air as she was able to.
 As Clive came less than three feet from Lora, the toy room faded to black. As did Lora, as did her physical self. Neither Clive nor Lora got the chance to exchange blows. The two fighters felt nothing, saw nothing, experienced nothing but their own thoughts …and Tench’s, and Sarra’s. 

If you would like the whole book, a souvenir of the experience, check it out at Smashwords here: 

No comments:

Post a Comment