Chapter 35: Kyra
“Might I ask again why we’re doing this?” I asked Flameheart as we continued through the dark cave. After the incident at the gas station, the two of us had made our way to Roseston Park where Flameheart had wordlessly decided to venture into the park’s mountain. Neither of us had said anything up until five minutes ago when I’d asked her why were in a cave, but she hadn’t responded. Now, I asked again.
“Because,” Flameheart replied after sighing heavily, “I do not want to live in a world where Svetlana is looked up to and respected.” The only light was coming from Flameheart’s fist, which she had formed a ball of fire around and was holding in front of her. Because of the dim lighting I couldn’t see the other woman’s face, but I guessed it was probably covered by a look of annoyance.
“First of all,” I said, “I don’t think she’s really respected. And second, what is your problem with her? I don’t mean to be rude or anything, and I get that she’s not really the nicest person, but what is it that makes you resent her so much?” Flameheart stopped for a second, but then continued walking.
“It’s a long story, okay?” She replied, glancing over at me.
“We have time,” I said calmly, determined to get to the bottom of this.
“Actually,” Flameheart said with a smile, “We might not.” I looked up to face her but found instead that she’d removed the fire from her hand, leaving us both in total darkness.
“Why did you do that?” I asked, getting a little scared.
“Look up,” Flameheart replied, excitement in her voice. I tilted my head back to what I hoped was the ceiling. I didn’t see anything at first, but after a few seconds I began to see what she was looking at; at the very top of the cave’s ceiling there was a small crack that was letting in the tiniest bit of light. “I knew it,” Flameheart whispered, more to herself, as she lit up the cave again. “Kyra, hand me the book,” as she flipped through it a thought suddenly occurred to me.
“Wait,” I said, “We’re not…” Flameheart looked up at me, grinning wildly.
“Yeah,” she replied, holding open the book in front of me and pointing to the address marked inside: Sector R15, Valford, Washington. “But how can you be sure?” I asked. Flameheart shrugged, still smiling. “I thought you didn’t want to come,” I said, “Why are you so happy about this now?”
“Because,” Flameheart said, returning the book to me, “I want answers. Being around Svetlana made me realize that unless we do something and try to get to the bottom of this, she’s going to end up killing us all!” I was beginning to think that this young woman was a little crazy, but in a time like this, who wasn’t? “Stand back,” I did as I was told and stepped back a few feet, already guess what Flameheart was about to do. An intense wave of heat, similar to the one at the gas station, suddenly swept over me as Flameheart blasted fire upward, creating an explosion that was completely concentrated on the rocks above. “Watch out!” The sound of glass shattering made me look up, only to have my vision covered in a wall of orange as Flameheart created a firey dome around the two of us in less than a second, instantly melting the glass shards that came flying down at us. I was sweating more intensely than I ever had in my whole life and was relieved when the shield deteriorated. Fresh air hit my face when I looked up into the large hole that had recently been created a freak of nature.
“How are we going to get out of here?” I asked, suddenly extremely anxious to get out of the caves.
“I have an idea,” Flameheart said after thinking for a moment. The young woman stepped back a little, took a running start, and leapt into the air. In the same moment, fire burst out of her fists, hitting the ground and propelling her upwards. A single blast of energy had just propelled a 21 year-old woman 20 feet in the air. Looking up, I was astonished to see that Flameheart had actually made it out.
“What do you see up there?” I called out. After a moment the red-head’s face came back into view as she looked down at me.
“You’re going to want to see this!” Was her only reply. I moved back as she jumped back down, a grin apparent on her face. “Come on,” she held out her hand to me and I looked back at her quizzically. “How else do you think you’re going to get out of here?” she asked. I awkwardly reached over and grabbed her shoulders as she wrapped one arm around mine. “Ready?” she asked. I nodded, my heart beat beginning to pick up. It happened almost instantaneously; blast of heat, leaving earth’s atmosphere for a few seconds, and then landing gently on a sturdy sheet of glass. Once we’d gotten above ground I let go of Flameheart and took in my surroundings. I almost laughed out loud when I saw the sky for the first time- free of fog and smoke. But that was really the only beautiful thing up here; the land was dry and cracked and, for some odd reason, was completely covered in slightly suspended glass. The view behind me was more interesting, although not by much- many buildings, all gray and dull looking, surrounded by a barbed fence.
“Do you think this is Sector R15?” I asked as I looked around.
“I’m sure of it,” Flameheart responded, walking over to the fence. In the next instant an appreciable hold was burned right in its center and I had no choice but to follow my traveling companion. It occurred to me now that Flameheart was actually quite destructive and, hypothetically, had the ability to destroy the whole town. That thought set me on edge and I tried to think of ways she could be stopped if she ever decided to turn rogue. The only thing I could think of was Rosalie, but there was always the chance that she would want to join Flameheart in destroying the city. Come on, Kyra, now you’re just being paranoid, I thought to myself.
Before I could stop her, Flameheart was banging on a metal door near the barbed fence. A slot in the door, about eye level, opened up almost immediately and two gray eyes covered by a pair of glasses stared out at us. “Yes?” They asked.
“Are you Dr. Everett?” Flameheart asked. I held up the book as if to show the man behind the door where we had gotten the name. The slot slid shut and for a moment I thought he’d left. But soon, the sound of locks being unlocked reached my ears and the door swung open to reveal an old man in a suit with a long gray hair pulled back in a ponytail. Wrinkles shrouded his face and his hands were slightly trembling.
“I am,” the man replied, looking us both up and down, “Come in, come in.” I hesitantly followed Flameheart into the room, which was much larger than I’d expected. The door shut behind us, but I was too distracted by the gizmos and gadgets and bubbling test tubes to notice. “I’m guessing one or both of you is a mutant?” Dr. Everett asked with a sly smile.
“How did you know?” I asked, surprised he even knew of mutants considering he seemed cut off from the rest of the world.
“I rigged that book so that only a mutant could uncover my address,” he explained. I thought back to the time I had pressed my thumb against the page and revealed the letters and understood, “Not to mention that I saw this whole thing coming.”
“You did?” Flameheart asked, her turn to be astonished. Dr. Everett nodded gravely.
“I did,” he repeated, “But it happened sooner than I expected and I didn’t really have time to prepare for it.”
“What do you mean by ‘it’”? I asked, wanting to get all the details.
“Dr. Blahze’s Attack,” Dr. Everett replied gravely, “Or the apocalypse, the end of the world, the encasement- Whatever you’d like to call it.”
“Who’s Dr. Blahze?” I asked.
“Milan Blahze,” Dr. Everett explained gravely, “Was a colleague of mine from Bulgaria way-back-when. Although, to tell you the truth, I doubt he’s the one behind this.”
“Then why did you suggest he attacked us?” Flameheart asked, a bit suspicious.
Dr. Everett sighed, “Because I always hated him and I wanted something to be his fault for once.” I was surprised at how childish this old scientist sounded, but I waited for him to go on, “Anyway, the reason I doubt that he’s behind this is because he’s dead. Died three years ago in an experiment gone wrong. That was his fault,” he added with a smile as he walked over to examine a test tube.
“So who do you think bombed us?” I asked.
“Bombed? Ha!” Dr. Everett laughed as if this were the funniest thing in the world. “My dear, you’ve been more than bombed! You’ve been infected! Wasted! Destroyed! Well, not entirely destroyed. If we were entirely destroyed we wouldn’t be here, would we? Ha!” I felt a bit uncomfortable as the old man laughed and wheezed, bending over and pounding on the nearest table, having the laugh-attack of his life. After he had calmed down, he continued, “No, I don’t know for sure who’s causing all of this,” he said, “It’s most likely one of Dr. Blahze’s assistants. Can’t seem to remember their names right now…” Dr. Everett rubbed his chin and furrowed his brow, looking as if he were divulging into the caverns of his memories, but after a few seconds he shrugged, giving up. “So,” he said as he sat down in a rolling desk chair and leaned back in it, “What do you want to know?”
“What are those?” Flameheart asked before I could say anything, pointing to a series of eleven tubes stacked in the back of the room. I couldn’t help but feel a little annoyed that she wasn’t asking about the Destruction, but there was nothing I could do about it now. Dr. Everett swiveled around in his chair to view what Flameheart was pointing at.
“Those are my robots, my army” the doctor replied proudly, “My soul friends! Look just like regular humans, don’t they?” They did, actually, almost eerily so. Five girls and six boys, all lined up in rows, their eyes shut and their bodies completely still. “Named after the zodiac signs! Names as unique as their designs,” Looking more closely, I could see labels such as “Gemini” and “Sagittarius” carved into the tops of the tubes.
“Where’s Capricorn?” I asked, noticing the lack of a sign.
The pride and celebration left Dr. Everett’s face for a moment as he replied, “I’m not quite sure,” he said quietly, “But they’ve been out of commission for a long time either way. It’d take a miracle to bring them back.”
I wasn’t the only one who thought he was being a bit too dramatic, for Flameheart quickly broke the silence with, “Okay, so what exactly is going on?” Her question brought Dr. Everett back down to reality and the smile was quickly replanted on his face.
“Are you sure you want to know?” he asked. I nodded eagerly. “You’re both absolutely certain? Because I’ll tell right now, things might get ugly.”
“Just tell us!” Flameheart demanded. It occurred to me then to confirm with Dr. Everett on whether or not one’s mutant power’s affected one’s overall personality. Recently I’d had the strange urge to comfort those who seemed to be broken, and Flameheart had been living up to her name and lashed out at anything and everything.
“You have the power of fire on your side, don’t you?” he asked and Flameheart nodded. “Haha, I could tell. Sit down,” he gestured toward two other chairs similar to his, “I’ll go get us some tea and bread. I’m sure the two of you are both in need of food.” It felt good to sit down after all the treacherous walking, but I wasn’t relaxed. The fact that this strange man seemed to know everything that was going and wasn’t doing anything to try to stop it made me doubt my safety, as well as Flameheart’s, despite our powers. I scooted to the edge of my seat, ready to run if the time came.