False Dawn #19: Out of the Pan
Part Five of Five: Dog Fight
Short Story Format
Devin Leigh Michaels
Who thought it was a good idea to go a few rounds with a freakin’ Amazon? Seriously.
“Mr. Dawson, can you hear me?”
I ready myself for Agent Towne as he lunges, Maidan’s Glory in my hand, but I don’t plan for the invisible force that slams into Kainoa and my backs. It sends us stumbling toward Towne, who with a single hand, pushes us back. We’re caught between two pieces of an invisible bread, and all I keep thinking is this is how PB and J must feel when Towne drops to the floor suddenly, Jayden behind him.
He narrows his eyes at Sierra, but the shock gives me just enough leeway to throw a shadow tentacle at her. Like Bergener did to me, the tentacle slashes through her shoulder, but I kick her to the ground.
“When are you going to realize, Sierra?” I demand. “Telekinetics are the wimpy kids in class. Telepaths rock.”
She kicks out my legs, but she leaps for the one person on the field who can stop her and the blue hoodies.
He’s kneeling next to injured students, taking their pain into his own body, so they can fight again. In her hand is my sword.
“NO!” I scream as she buries it—not in Rio, though, but the person who jumped in front of him.
“JAY!” Rio screams.
As the blade sinks into his body, Rio’s eyes glow an ice blue, and his body’s engulfed in ice flames. He leaps forward, only for a blue flash of power to ignite the room. I feel myself falling, and when I hit the ground, the lights fades to reveal the Blender—Kainoa, Sierra, and me.
Kainoa’s eyes glow a dangerous, royal blue, but the tint—uncontrollable anger—scares me.
Just what is this guy capable of?
“Give me one reason why I shouldn’t kill you.” His voice challenges like sandpaper on rocks.
“Because telekinetics are untouchable,” she parries. “All we wanted to foster your powers, your talent, your gift, and how do you repay us?”
“You wanted to make us slaves,” I reply, “and if we didn’t comply, you stole from us.”
“You believe your friends to have lost? Sight, voice—they’re sad but not tragic. Try being my sister. Try losing your entire body. Then you will know the true meaning of loyalty.”
“Then why don’t you side with us? Why do you fight FOR the project?”
“She is alive. Your friend cannot say the same.”
I look at Kainoa, who nods once. “At least now he is free,” he says.
Sierra dashes forward, my sword in her hand. “And so will you be.”
She slices a thin line along my side, and when Kainoa ducks her swipe, she knees him in the groin, elbows me in the cheek, then forces her hand out directly in front of my face.
Then all I see is the golden glow of her eyes and hair before the pain masks everything.
Seriously. Deciding to fight the Australian Wonder Woman here is not the best idea I’ve had this century.
“Mr. Dawson, can you hear me?”
Of course, I still have a good eighty or so years to make worse decisions.
“Mr. Dawson, it is time you awakened.”
I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
My heavy eyes crack, and even through my blurred vision, the pounding in my skull, and darkness surrounding us, I mumble, “…don…cal…mah… ‘at…”
A larger man, grandfatherly with the hardness of the Emperor in his eyes, glares down at me. “Mr. T called. He thinks you don’t deserve his pity.”
I snort. My body doesn’t hurt, per se, other than my head, but it’s numb, like pins and needles all over. I try not to freak when my arms and legs don’t listen, and the only thing I can think is this is how a pop-tart must feel right before the toast clicks on.
“You believe you and your peers have triumphed today but know this.” He bent to whisper, and his breath reeks of cigarettes and peaches. “You are nothing but a child whom I let win. When I play, I win, and I will play, Mr. Dawson.”
A cold shadow casts over me.
But it’s not just any dragon. It’s Torch’s kid, the one I know she lost, but where’d it come from?
“And I always have a royal flush.”
Ice flames flush my skin cold, and I shoot up, breathing like I’ve broken the surface. My chest heaves, and Sierra stands over me, my sword above her head.
“Last words are overrated.”
My blade comes down, and I form a shadow shield. The blade clashes against the shield, but without blue flames or dark power, she has no chance of breaking through.
I smirk. “Please. There’s no way I’m dying until Brittany Spears is once more number one on Twitter.”
I drop the shield and shoot her with one ball of white power. A second later, Kainoa’s kicking out her legs, and I’m reclaiming my sword.
An invisible force slams into my face, knocking Kainoa and me back, and Sierra affronts, her hands flexing and tightening. “You believe yourself so powerful. You are not fighting people, children. You are fighting an organization.”
“Yeah, well.” Kainoa crosses his arms. “So are you.”
Guns cock. Boots clap the wooden floor, and I gasp when men and women dressed in black jackets and cargo pants with army boots surround us. Each has a laser gun pointed directly at Sierra who’s not quite sure what to make of them. Neither do I until Kainoa smirks.
“Sierra, meet the Defenders of the Fourth Dimension. My posse.”
As they force Sierra to her knees, Kainoa helps me to a bench on the edge of the scene, pressing down on my wound. It starts to sting, the adrenaline-high fading, and the world comes crashing down.
“So…what do you think?” Kainoa asks, breathless.
I shrug awkwardly. “Y’know, for defenders of time, they took their time getting here.”
“Seems like that, doesn’t—”
A blonde-haired woman, probably in her early forties, dives forward, entrenching Kainoa in a tight hug. Her weight drags them both to the ground, where she continues to hold him. She’s not Asian. She doesn’t have blue hair or a callous glare, but I know who she is. She’s his mother.
“Cuz, you totally need one of those digital locators they put in dogs,” an African American girl snorts. She looks a little older than Kainoa but not by much.
Two men, tanned with dark, graying hair, come forward. One bends to hug Kainoa, the other places a hand on his head.
I miss Mom and Connor and Lance and Casia.
Along the dusk horizon, a small dragon with black scales with a blue tint and yellow inseam soars through the darkening skies, a lifeless Jayden in his jaws. Eventually, he comes to the English shoreline where stone blocks create doorways. Laying Jayden down in the middle of the structure, he lets out a screeching cry into the dying day.
Using his ice blue fire, he blows tiny embers across the dead body until the stones brighten in a golden shimmer. Jayden’s body bursts into red fire, then disintegrates upon the ground with a tiny peeping. The tiny dragon moans, and slowly, black, leather scales soften and brighten to tanned skin. Rio, hunched over and panting, dusts off the ashes from the newly reborn fire bird and cuddles the hatchling in his arms.