MoboReader> Adventure > Damsel[ed] No Rescue Required

   Chapter 60

Damsel[ed] No Rescue Required By m i c h e l l e p a k Characters: 12433

Updated: 2017-12-12 12:04


Angelos.

I grip the rail. The aura bubbles in my veins, and I can feel its heat searing under my skin. It“s like radiation, like something expanding out from my core. The sunlight seeps through my eyelids, and I let out a breath. "Barrier, barrier, barrier." I let go and pace, drinking up the heat. Even from so low, the city is beautiful, glowing in the morning light.

But it“s just a backdrop. A set piece to be torn apart if the heroes can“t save it. "Does she mean forcefield? I can do this, I can do this." I turn back toward the glossy door, each thud of my heart like the tick of a time bomb in my throbbing chest.

In the glass, I see my reflection.

The smirking boy in black. His hands pressed against the door, his smile crooked. I grab for my patch to remind myself he“s just an illusion. Not real. But the patch isn“t there. His blacked out eye is my blacked out eye. His dark mask is my dark mask. I touch my face just to make sure, so used to the feeling already of the mask“s felt against my skin I“ve hardly noticed. I turn my head so my blind side“s tipped away. He is still. You and I are one and the same.

I press my palms flat against the glass, over the flickering image of his upturned hands. You need me.

My chest heaves. The voice is back. The thing is back, the monster inside me, the thing that wants to pull strings. I can“t let it in. But that“s who comes out when I use my power, and I need more power than ever before to create a shield around the city. To keep the hostages alive. I“m losing my mind. I“m losing my mind, and it feels like an afterthought. "Oh, God," I whisper, "what do I do?"

"Hey, kid?" The reflection“s eyes on mine. Goosebumps ripple up my arms despite the morning“s heat. I refuse to turn away. It feels like weakness. "You okay?"

I shake my head. For a henchman, the woman has such a gentle voice. It barely sounds above a whisper. "What would you do, ma“am?" I try to make myself sound smooth, like my hands aren“t trembling against the glass. Like I“m not about to have another panic attack. "If you had the choice, would you help Owl, even though you know she will hurt many people if she wins? Or would you fight back, and let innocent people die because of it?"

"Ah," she says it so gently. In the window, I watch her knock back her hood. Strands of blonde hair, almost white in places, fall in front of her face. She tucks one behind her ear, her smile as sweet as it is sad in the glass. "Owl has made lots of people ask themselves the same question. Fight at Owl“s side, or watch your family be picked off one by one. Join or watch your city fall."

"That“s terrible." I can just imagine it. Owl, dragging supers out of their homes, offering them The Choice, that awful smirk stuck on her supervillain face. You can“t deny it, says the voice attached to the reflection. I“m you. I clench my jaw. Honestly, voices in your head can be so distracting sometimes. These poor henchmen. I wonder if Jaylin has a similar story.

"That“s how Ivy and joined, and we“d been thinking of escape for so long..."

I shoot a look at my reflection, who grins back. It“s like looking at the lord of the flies if the lord of the flies were a mirror instead of a decapitated pig“s head. You can“t escape me. "I“ll help you escape if this blows over." The “if“ hits me like a gut-punch, because even I can“t convince myself it“s a “when.“

"Your friend, the one who“s a cat, already did."

I shake my head. "That selfish prick? Must“ve got the wrong cat-boy."

She laughs softly. The slowness of her speech, the easy way she lolls her arm over my shoulder, it doesn“t seem to fit. The situation at hand is too tense for this, and yet it“s comforting.

on, just because I can.

This is how a know I“m losing it.

The strain is immense. Physically, mentally. If I had to compare my aura to something a little more tangible, I“d compare it to a clump of extra limbs. Maybe like a few cyborg arms, new and gangly, stronger than the rest of me but take more focus to control. Building up this barrier is like stretching said cyborg arms across the entire length of the city. Lots of focus. Kind of painful.

Every muscle in my body is tensed, every thought in my mind about keeping up the stupid barrier. The urge is primal. Even as my head begins to spin and my knees get shaky, it“s all I can think about. The me left in me just wants to save the hostages. I think the other wants to help Mom.

That other me is a real jerk.

You“re just weak. You know you want in on the power. Isn“t that right?

That“s right. Isn“t it? I feel looser somehow, like there“s a flood of chemicals knocking around in my brain. It makes it even harder to hang onto a shred of my conscious and conscience. Even now, I know I“m slipping. Behind me, the women have disappeared. Leaped buildings, probably, like they said they would. The tide ebbs. Aura flows back to my body, and screw that cyborg-limb analogy. I“m drowning.

One and the same. I and it are one and the same. The most powerful creatures in the world. Even stacked against my Mom and my Dad, I can crush them. And Gats?

My heart pounds, faster and faster. He“s still my friend. My friend. Why is this so hard to remember? I“m losing myself and I can“t lose myself anymore.

I grasp at the door so hard my fingers chip through it, gripping shards of glass. Tight purple threads hum above my head, cutting the blue sky into checker squares. It“s beautiful. Beautiful and empty.

Earlier, maybe only a couple of days ago in fact—though it feels so long ago—Jaylin asked me to rule at her side. A villainess and villain. A queen and her king. It made me hate her.

Now? I might take her up on the offer.

My head hurts. My body, my heart. I“m being split again. The thing I“ve been pushing out is back. I can“t fight the drunkenness, the giggling, the gnawing feeling that this is all a game, and I, the pawn dragged from square to square. And why be a pawn when I can be king?

Slipping... slipping.

As I fall, my last thought is that I hope the hostages are okay. That, and the fleeting realization that the world I know is unraveling, and I“m the one yanking the thread.

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