I didn't even see it coming. they knocked me to the ground and snapped my purse from its string. I couldn't get up... I mean I could, but why? What for? Who was I getting up for? That bitch who abandoned me with a text? The fuckers who fired me for speaking up when they stole my idea and gave me none of the credit?
The one with the gold teeth started trailing my arms with his clammy fingers, raking it over my bracelet, my watch and... my engagement ring, not that I'd need that anymore.
"I gotta text from Mindy, she says she needs to meet up, says it's urgent, what do you want me to say?" asked the one with my purse, mockingly. This one had a tattoo on his forehead that spelt 'Edgelord'. I didn't reply. There was a third one standing as a lookout, but they had no features of interest whatsoever: Blandy.
"I'd Tell 'er you can't make it" said Goldteeth. I know he was after my earrings now, but I really hated the way his fingertips slid creepily over my ears and across my cheeks. If he was a piano player he'd be intentionally hitting all the wrong notes.
"You're not on 'olidee mate, 'urry up!" replied Blandy.
The absence of the ring on my finger was cold and exposed, an emptiness I was somewhat envious of, to just fade and cease to exist would be great. No memories, no afterlife, just...
"You worry too much lad, this is record time, shes not even putting up a fight!" said Goldteeth.
The cold turned into heat. It spread across my hand, up my arm and over my body. It was electrifying! Like lightning. I remembered those days, I was feared, respected! Not loved, but I never needed it, or the pain it brought either, back when I was Red Lightning.
A surge of electricity rung throughout my body, jumping onto Goldteeth's hand. He jumped away and landed against the wall, smoking and twitching.
"Fucking hell! What happened?" The other two crooks moved cautiously towards me and the smoking body. I propped myself up as Blandy came my way, then BAM! He kicked me right in the head, knocking me back down.
"You fucking bitch! He's dead isn't he!?" He yelled
"He deserved it" I said calmly, slowly getting up onto my feet. Blandy came at me with a blow to the stomach. I couldn't dodge it in the state I was in, I took it at full force, spluttering the air out of my lungs. But I grabbed onto his extended arm and held my grip. Smoke rose from it as his clothes caught alight. He tried to pull away, but I focused on his arm, I wanted it, I was owed something. He started to scream and managed to pull away... without his arm. Blandy was left with a cauterised stump, screaming in disbelief. As I caught my breath, I started moving, closing the distance between us. I didn't want him to die... so easily. I grabbed onto the side of his head and channelled some heat, carefully imagining an incision circle marked by my fingertips. He tried to grab a hold of my hand with his remaining arm. In only a matter of seconds, I pulled away, with a section of his skull in my hand. Part of his brain was now exposed. And his fear was visible, I was about to break him.
"I hope you live after this" I said "When you decide to jump off a bridge, or into the tracks or however natural selection deletes you, I want to be there, and I want to stop you. And I want to take away your ability to move" I said, stroking the back of his neck with my free hand, "So your final hours will be trapped on the edge, rotting inside your own fucking shell". This wasn't really satisfying, I was talking more to Goldteeth, at least I wish I was. I really regret electrocuting him, he was much more deserving of this punishment, not Blandy the lookout boy, or even Edgelord who had just been standing there frozen this whole time.
I released my grip and turned towards Edgelord. I was channelling so much energy into my hands, it started pooling in my wrists.
"You should tell Mindy that I-" Edgelord bolted down the road. "SON OF A BITCH!" I yelled, following after him.
He took a turn into the high street. I turned the same corner and unleashed my power, which had pooled half way up my forearms. It erupted out from my hands, engulfing the entire street, consuming, cars, people, buildings, concrete. Everything was stripped from the ground, shredded and launched far down the road. I couldn't see the damage through the smoke, but the last time I unleashed power like this, it extended for almost a kilometre. I could hear screams, not in front, there's no way anyone could have survived. They were behind me, all around, in every direction but forward, the people around me were terrified. Some just stood there while others fled, cars crashed into each other trying to escape, one crashed into a family. It was chaos.
I definitely took things too far. I need to get out of- BANG!
A bullet went through my chest and out the other side. The pain was almost unbearable, but not fatal. There was a black helicopter with a sniper on the side. Armed soldiers moved in through the panicking crowds, and formed a circle around me. I heard more helicopters approaching. I didn't want to deal with any of this, although I could win, I didn't want to go through all that again.
All I wanted was Olivia back, I don't even know why she left me, when I needed her the most.
"Confirmed! Target is Red Lightning!" yelled one of the soldiers into his headset. I decided to surrender, if I continued I didn't think I could stop. I raised my hands in the air to show I was unarmed, then placed them on my head.
"Red Lightning is yielding, please advise" yelled the soldier. "But sir... copy that, no quarter" he said hesitantly. Two soldiers closed in, holding large rifles, probably anti-superpower weapons. They were close enough for me to hear their weapons whirring, which was close enough for me to know there was no going back. I raised my hands to the sky and summoned a storm. The lightning fed me, hyper-accelerating my metabolism and healing my wounds. The storm was with me, the sky exposed on the edges of my storm cloud turned red. I guess I Red Lightning just can't escape this life.
A barrage of bullets rained at me sideways, deflected off trajectory by an equally devastating and extremely precise barrage of lightning strikes from my storm cloud.
I raced in towards the first soldier holding the futuristic whirring gun and shoved the barrel slightly upwards with my palm when I got in close. The gun fired, although nothing appeared out of it, I could sense the immense radiation emitted, and feel the shock wave from its firing. The skin on my palm was burning and I wasn't sure if it would either peel off or crack away if I removed it from the barrel. Looking back, I could see a clear line, clearer than the air around it, as if it removed pollutants from air, or even the air itself. The line continued through the cloud, cutting a clean hole through it. Although I couldn't see it, I'm sure with a telescope I could've seen an unfiltered view of outer space. This was dangerous tech!
The second soldier was about to fire. I pushed away from the first soldier, (FYI my skin peeled in some places, and cracked in others) and the clear beam came between us. The first soldier was close enough to lose parts of his uniform, and several layers of skin, writhing in pain at the removal of parts of his forearm.
I had to end this quickly. I fired a bolt of lightning through the other soldier's head (he'd be fine, he just won't be able to move). Then rushed into the middle of their unit. I wanted to believe that this would make them less likely to fire at me for fear of hitting a comrade, but that stint by the second soldier left me in doubt. I had to get rid of these guys. Before I knew it a grenade had landed beneath my feet. it exploded, cleanly, like the guns. I could feel it deleting my electricity, so I fed it more, and managed to contain it at first, before focusing the containment field around me rather than around the explosion. I survived, but it took a lot out of me. I had to take them out quickly. With energy sent to my hands (for power) and feet (for high jumps), I was ready to roll. I lunged towards the closest soldier, electrifying him with a punch to the face, before leaping over to another, and another. Dropping like flies around a bug zapper. Before I knew it there was only one left, the captain with the headset.
"You wanted to spare me" I said. Zapping the rifle from his hand with a small lightning bolt.
"You wanted to surrender, it was only fair" he replied.
"I've had a really bad day"
"And you made it worse for a lot of people" he replied flatly.
"I might just fling you somewhere, put you up in hospital so your family can visit you, get you a nice purple heart and some paid vacation leave"
"I see I caught you in a good mood"
"You wouldn't be here with your Sci-fi guns if I was in a good mood soldier boy"
"So what set you off?"
"Got fired. My fiance dumped me over text, and these guys mugged me"
"So is that why you Hiroshima'd the high street?" I could hear the helicopters coming in.
"I was chasing the last guy, and overdid it"
"That's an understatement"
"You're stalling me, aren't you?"
"You're the one who came to talk Lightning"
"I think I might need a hostage"
"I'm expendable, especially against the infamous Red Lightning. And while I do appreciate the civility, I don't appreciate you killing my boys" Said the captain.
It was only now I noticed him slyly pressing a button on the side of his belt. He grabbed a hold of me and everything turned white. There was no sound. I couldn't hear the helicopters, the screams or the sirens. I saw slight sparks of electricity among the white, I could hear a faint thud, followed by another, and another. The sparks became more prominent as the thuds got louder, shifting into booms and bangs. The sparks started taking over, before subsiding, and the booms and bangs increased in regularity. Eventually all I could see was smoke, and all I could hear were helicopters. I had bloody chunks of the captain's body all over me, and as the smoke subsided I could see a fleet of helicopters with all their guns aimed at me. The sky was clear now, although still red, I think I must have used up my entire storm reserve keeping me alive.
I was standing in a massive crater. It looks like the captain blinded me long enough for the helicopters to fire everything they had at me. Exactly how long had I zoned out for? If that wasn't it then surely my final stand was coming up. I channelled my energy into my feet and leapt towards the edge of the crater. The channelling put a lot of strain on my heart, but whatever, what was I saving it for?"
back on the surface level, I could see over a dozen black helicopters. I leapt up onto the side of the closest one, aimed at the one closest to it and stripped away its surface electrons before placing them onto a third helicopter. The attraction was strong, strong enough for them to fall into each other and explode in midair. The other helicopters fired at the one I was on, making it the next casualty. These guys REALLY don't care for friendly fire. As it fell, I landed safely back onto the ground, exhausted. I could not defeat them all. And I was getting weaker all of a sudden.
"Hold your Fire! Stand down! You too Red Lightning!" To top it all off, they had reinforcements, a Super Hero had appeared, Onyx Viper, who hadn't actually been seen in months, many thought she was dead, abducted or just retired. Any other day I could've taken her down easily. But for some reason I was now entirely depleted.
She started approaching me, and she was strangely familiar. All of a sudden she started removing her mask. I didn't understand, why would she- no! It couldn't be!
"Olivia?" I blurted out. I couldn't believe it. She was here, and she was Onyx Viper all along? This couldn't be real.
"Hey, Rynne, I know it's you". I dragged myself over to her and just collapsed into her arms.
"How long have you known?" I asked. My eyes were welling up.
"Since this morning"
"But, I... that text!"
"I'm sorry, I found out something important that affected both of us, and I... didn't handle it well"
"What information?" "We'll deal with that later. Right now we need to sort out what happened here"
"No! Right now, I need to know, do you still love me?"
Onyx Viper had the power to crystallise matter and make it a part of her body, a feat she used to turn into what resembled a giant viper made of a dark crystal that probably wasn't made out of onyx. She placed her hand on the ground and crystallised it, before raising it up to knee height and breaking it off of her hand, we now had somewhere to sit while we sorted this mess out.
"If the answer's no, then just fucking leave me to the helicopters" I was dead serious, I still had enough adrenaline in me to stage a final attack, but nothing more after that.
"No! Don't you dare guilt trip me like that!"
"Sorry... I can't pretend you're not the only thing keeping me going". I say, looking around at the metal buzzards of death still hovering above us.
"Of course I really care for you. But look at this!" She said, indicating the battlefield. "What I learnt this morning complicated things, and you really fucked things up here, what kind of relationship could we have now?!"
"I don't know" I felt defeated, but this still wasn't my fault. "I was fired today. Rob took my idea, and when I spoke up about it, they fired me".
"That's it? It's a really fucked up thing for them to do but-"
"Then, I got your text, and at a time when I really needed you the most. But that wasn't even it. I was knocked down and mugged in broad daylight by these fucking shitheads! One of them... he..." I could barely see anything as I struggled to continue, everything stayed blurry, even after wiping my eyes. I could vaguely see her looking into my mine, and I think she understood, her arms tightened around me. After a minute I was about able to talk again.
"My powers can't be turned on like instantly, it takes a while, and even then I'm not in full control of them. I killed two of them, then chased down the third and fired it at him. I was angry, and I overcharged, which I know was a big mistake, these guys appeared and I tried to surrender, but they went in for the kill anyway, one of them even kami-kazed me".
Olivia loosened her grip on me, but grabbed onto my hands instead.
"I need to take you in" She said
"Yeah..." I sighed, looking down at the floor
"But whatever happens, I'll be with you. Every step of the way"
I smiled, slightly, probably the last smile I'll ever have. A heavy twin rotor helicopter landed nearby. Olivia placed handcuffs on me and took me on board. We flew over the ruined high street, the damage was much more extensive than I thought, much wider and longer, ending at a lake contaminated with debris.
I rested my head on Olivia's shoulder, and she placed an arm around me, stroking my hair. I might get executed, or banished to wherever, but right now this was all I ever wanted, and I hoped the journey would last forever.