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   Chapter 27 Sacrifice

Blog of a Teenage Superhero By m i c h e l l e p a k Characters: 10706

Updated: 2017-12-05 19:05

Silence falls heavily between the boys as they stare into the lancing rain. Movement flickers in the corner of Finn“s eyes, the dread a palpable knot in his stomach. Kai clenches the steering wheel with both white fists, surveying the damage as if for the first time. "My car," he says. A tremor of a moment passes. He raises his fist and slams it to the horn, blinking as if waking from a dream. "My car!"

Finn can“t take it. He screams, the tension of the night snapping through him like whiplash. "Who cares about your car!" His hands land on the shoulders of his friend“s, stilling him. Finn stares into Kai“s eyes to keep from looking back at the vans and at the black-capped men slipping from their vehicles. If he focuses, he can tune out the scraping of metal on metal, the heavy footsteps crunching grass. If he focuses hard enough he can just hear his and Kai“s ragged breathing, his own hitched pulse. "I just care about..."

You. Finn wants to say, but he doesn“t.

"Finn!" Kai jerks back, black eyes lit up with fear. His hands tremble as they slide off the wheel. "Behind—"

With a shriek that curdles Finn“s blood, the door on the passenger side rattles free. Finn nudges Kai“s chin, suddenly mute. Fear surges through him, white hot. Kai tries to hold on to him. Can“t.

Gloved hands snatch Finn“s neck, and though he wriggles and kicks, he“s yanked out of the open door in half a second. His foot catches in the horizontal bar under the seat, his mind scrambling for a plan, a thread to hang on to. Stay in the car. Don“t let them take you. Rain stings his face. He knew this was a bad idea, knew it, and yet, as the man yanks him so hard his kneecap pops, he doesn“t regret it. Monet is in trouble, after all. A second man dumps Kai from the car, sending the small boy bawling in pain when he hits the ground. Chip kicks his door open, tumbling out onto the path in a kicking heap. Just as Finn“s face is bashed into the gravel, Chip scrambles up to an impassive captor, a fist raised. "Leave him alone! You—" The boy glances up at the sky, yelps, and steps back.

Finn shakes his head, eyes squeezed shut against the sting of pebbles. There“s pressure against his temple, a kiss of cold steel. "Damned wonderful," he says, earning himself a mouthful of grit and gravel. He winks up at the black sky, suddenly too tired to be scared as he lies in a cold puddle, the splatter of raindrops bringing on shivers.

Masquerade thumps down beside him, kicking up a spray of gravel in Finn“s face. The villain“s cape dangles off his shoulder, tattered and blood-stained. Nail marks curve in the exposed wrists. And his face is showing.

Finn quirks an eyebrow. "Oh, hey Max."

This snaps Chip back into the moment. The blood surges back to his face and he hurls a fist full of gravel at the boy who was once his friend. Max never changes expressions. His lip curled up just slightly, his eyes too wide, like he“s terrified or deranged or maybe both. Flicking away rocks caught in the collar of his cape, he smiles at Chip, at Finn. Both boys shudder.

Chip scoops up another handful of grit, palms it. His face is hardened, his shoulders rolled back, ringlets of blonde hair hid

ng his ponytail. "Kai—"

Max points back at the gunman. "Open fire on the others."

"W-wait!" cries the blonde, who tries to hide the crack in his voice with a cough. "I mean," he says, his cheeks flushed rosy, his eyes round and gemlike, "I can“t fight you. You want a hostage, right? So long as Kai and Comet and Percy and all don“t get hurt beyond repair, you know..." He flicks his eyes to his feet, lifting both hands over his head. He draws up a long breath before mustering up enough courage to meet Max“s gaze again. His expression is tired. "Not too bad of a deal, right?"

It“s remarkable. Finn does look like Chip, same attitude, same slouchy posture, same grumbling speech. But he has Percy“s eyes, stirring green, the type that“ll cut you to the quick. And even when gesturing his own surrender, there“s something quietly daring about him. The teasing smirk, the way he leans up toward his enemy. And Max, exhausted and unhinged, can“t take it. He snatches the boy by his rumpled collar and rips him right off the ground. The gunman waits. Finn“s smirk wavers.

"I want to kill you," Max says, gauging a reaction. And he does want to kill the ass of a kid anyway if only to prove that he can. Rain stings his lashes, whips in his eyes. An act he must learn how to do, he decides.

"Fine." Finn shrugs. There“s an edge to his voice, quiet, yet bold as he meets his soon-to-be killer“s eyes. Finn waits quietly in that same smug way that makes Max point back at the gunman.

A hostage, Max decides, is a practical thing to keep as a plan B if you“re a super-villain. But he doesn“t have to play by the kid“s rules, either. "Open fire," he repeats, slinging the boy over his shoulder who stirs and stiffens at the heartless words.

Finn, pissed to be cheated, pissed to be scared, pissed that his life couldn“t save his friends“, wheels his knee into Max“s hard stomach, clawing, screeching. Too late. The boys are already airborne.

Below, a series of pops ring out through the rain.

Below, Monet clamors out a broken window choking back screams. Time, she decides, to put plan “D“ into effect. For “desperate.“

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