Here comes the BOOM!
Here comes the BOOM!
Here comes the BOOM!
Video on the side is Nelly - Here come the boom.
Pretty appropriate. You'll see why ;)
I woke up the next morning to the constant rays of sunshine that had chased away the snow from the grounds. Lush blades of grass over took the white snow and the many different shades of green coloured the leaves that had grown back onto the bereft branches. Spring had arrived.
I padded out to the kitchen and noticed Helena lost in thought as she slowly sipped from her ceramic mug filled with coffee. Her normally light copper skin was a shade paler but it seemed as though her cheeks were flushed.
“Good morning” I greeted her as I filled my own mug with aromatic coffee.
“Good morning, and it really is a good morning” she breathed in deeply letting small smile lift the corners of her lips, “Have you seen the grounds this morning? This is definitely my kind of day!”
I couldn’t help but smile, it seemed that now that the snow had vanished Helena was feeling more alive and was acting more like herself. Thank goodness... I was beginning to wonder if she would ever return back to herself after the death of Max.
“It’s beautiful outside. It’s too bad we have classes today though...” she shrugged in reply but smiled softly. We sat in comfortable silence caught up in our own little world as we finished our coffee. Helena was first to finish and stood up to get ready and I followed soon after.
The day had dragged on and on and I was beginning to feel twitchy from the lack of excitement. So much had happened in such a short time, so to finally escape from History had been welcome. “I’ll see you in Combat later on Helena” I called out to her as I made my way down to Water Skills. Students gathered around me as we walked down to our classroom.
For the first time since returning from the holidays I felt alone. Max and I had always shared this class and now... now he was gone. I recognised the many faces surrounding me and yet I couldn’t find it in me to befriend someone new, it just felt as though I’d be replacing Max. I hadn’t thought of him for a while and, as I stood in the plain, tiled room with the pool of water in the centre, I found my heart aching a little.
As usual, Ms Flumine made her grand entrance. The water in the pool swirled and bubbled while globs of water began to rise. The room looked as though bubbles had been blown and were lazily swirling around while the rays of sunlight shot tiny rainbows by reflecting through the water. Suddenly the bubbles of water zipped through the air, all zooming back to the centre, and clashed together presenting Ms Flumine who stood tall and poised by the edge of the pool while the spray of water drizzled down around her.
“Good afternoon class” her fluid voice greeted us. “Today will be an interesting and extremely difficult class; one that Coach Shulk has insisted all Skills teachers to train their students in for Combat later on.”
This immediately caught my attention. It seemed that it was something I was looking for after the tedious day I’d endured so far. Skills classes were always held before Combat and whatever we had learned in that class was usually required in Combat.
“As you may have realised, when defending or attacking, Abled have taken to using older sorts of weapons such as swords, axes, shields, whips and knives. Today however, you will be training on how to use guns and explosives” My eyes widened in interest and excitement. Ms Flumine walked around the edge of the pool as she spoke dragging her hand through the air and forcing the water below to ripple along with her.
A hand slowly rose among the students and Ms Flumine nodded her head indicating for the boy to speak. “Why haven’t we learnt this earlier? Obviously guns and explosives would have been much more effective during fights”
A ghost of a smile settled over Ms Flumine’s lips before she answered. “As I mentioned earlier, this class will be very difficult. Most of you will know how difficult it is to keep your minds focused on the water molecules from dissipating when simply using it as a shield or sword. The physical hold of the weapon is so simple and straight forward. Now, imagine having to concentrate on the internal works of a gun and focusing hard on the speed and trajectory of the bullet within...
“Doesn’t seem so simple now does it? The same thing is required for an explosive. The timing of the detonation, the force required and the physical strength it would take for even the smallest explosion. If you lose concentration, or don’t even have enough... there is more than just one thing that could go wrong”
The boy who had asked the question earlier was quietly nodding to himself now. Ms Flumine stood still and her midnight blue, almond shaped eyes roamed over every student making sure they digested the information she just told before speaking again, “Okay, no partners this time. I want everyone at least a wingspan apart from each other and watch me very closely”
By the end of Water-skills, twenty or more students had to be sent down to the infirmary to see a Healer. The boy who had asked the question in the beginning had a particularly gruesome accident happen and had his friend help him walk to the infirmary with jagged shards of ice protruding from one side of his face. It wasn’t pretty.
I was sweating profusely and breathing hard as I sat on the cold tiles. Ms Flumine was right when she said it would be a very difficult class. It had taken me half an hour to force the water molecules together tight enough to resemble a simple hand gun and another ten minutes to have the trigger shoot the bullet hard enough to hit the target in front of me, which I eventually became quite good at.
Water-skills today had been prolonged due to the difficulty of the session and I was glad it was. Creating guns from water molecules was harder than the explosives, which I was able to execute pretty quickly, and so I’d spent most of the class time assembling each part of the gun before snapping them together. It seemed easier this way than constructing it whole.
“Very well done, Valerie” Ms Flumine congratulated me. “I’m very impressed. It seems as though every lesson you become more like your mother”
“Wait!” I called out to her before she had the chance to walk away again. “What do you mean by that Ms Flumine? You said the same thing to me last year in our first lesson together but you never mentioned why” Memories from the year before entered my mind when Ms Flumine had walked over to me, happy that I faired so well compared to the other students.
You really are your mother’s daughter.
The words were still clear in my mind but when I asked her then if she had known my mother she simply replied ‘Indeed I did’ before calling class to a finish.
Her kind, flawless face brightened as she smiled at me. “Valerie dear, your mother was the best student I had. She could do anything with her abilities and every class she excelled farther than anyone else... just like you. Her abilities far surpassed anyone else, even mine!”
A couple of thoughts ran through my mind as every piece of information Ms Flumine offered registered in my mind. The first to pop up was that Ms Flumine must be older than I had originally thought if my mom had been her student. Second to come to mind was that she compared me to my mother. I couldn’t help the smile that pulled at the corners of my lips.
I’d only ever been compared to my parents by Troy and Serena, but I had begun to think that they said those things to make me feel better by not knowing them. But with Ms Flumines’s acknowledgement, I couldn’t have been happier.
“Thank you Ms Flumine” I beamed. She winked at me and the next thing I knew she turned transparent as she transformed into a Water-being and splashed back into the pool.
“What’s going on?” I asked when I reached Derrek, Helena and the Elementals. Derrek reached out and wrapped his arm around my waist pulling me closer before depositing a warm kiss to my hair. As I walked to the gym I’d noticed all the students crowding around outside the firmly shut doors instead of waiting inside like usual.
Derrek shrugged and hugged me closer when a girl lost her balance and nearly fell into me. “Hey watch where you’re going!” he barked at her. I smiled and rolled my eyes. He was exactly the same when he bumped into me the first day we met.
“Alright! Alright! Everybody shut up!” Coach Shulk’s booming voice shouted over everyone else’s chatter. The noise died down quickly and curious eyes turned to face Coach Shulk. Her muscles were as big as ever and her face was still just as intimidating. “Now, as you may have noticed from your Skills class this Combat class will be different. Very different! I need everyone to get into pairs with one boy and one girl excluding Healers! Healers you will stay by me until all other Abled have entered the gymnasium.
“Rules! One, You are only permitted to use what you have learnt from your last Skills class, so guns and explosives only! Two, once an Abled is down and out you cannot go for them again! Three, no shooting at the head. You will end up killing the other person and effectively be expelled as well as probable imprisonment! And four, partners must stick together! If I catch anyone leaving their partner they will both be out!”
Coach Shulk’s voice always sounded as though she constantly had the need to shout but nevertheless it always made her points clear. Everyone was wearing practically the same attire, having been told that we must all wear pants, boots and either a tank top or t-shirt.
All the mystery about what was inside was making me slightly hyper and I bounced on the balls of my feet as we listened. Derrek tightened his hold around me sending little waves of heat into my hip, “Stay still Tadpole. Coach Shulk’s nearly finished” I grinned but stopped bouncing. Usually I was the one telling him to behave.
“Alright! You all have two minutes to find a partner!” Coach Shulk shouted. I already knew I would be with Derrek. It was a no brainer because he didn’t loosen is grasp around me the whole time. I looked around and saw Sophia and Cara pushing through the students towards the coach. They were talking to the coach and pointing between the two of them. Coach Shulk paused for a moment before nodding and I wondered what that could’ve been about.
“Uh... Helena, would you mind we partnered up?” I turned and saw Blake standing close to Helena and a deep blush coloured her olive skin. Now what was that about? It seemed as though I was out of the loop with a few things today.
Helena nodded and bit her lip, “Oh... sure.” Blake grinned and to Helena’s surprise he tossed his arm around her shoulders and pulled her hard against his side.
“Don’t worry, Helena. I won’t you let you out of my sight, I won’t leave you” I frowned when Blake said that to her. It seemed innocent enough but it sounded as though there was some sort of hidden meaning behind it. I mentally shrugged my shoulders, I’ll find out another time.
Cameron strolled up to us with a small frown marring his forehead and Bree standing next to him. “Everything okay Cameron?” I asked curiously.
“Cara and Sophia are sitting out. Cara didn’t want to join at all and Sophia is sulking because she doesn’t believe her abilities can do anything for this kind of session” I could tell that after Cara and my discussion down in the basement that Cameron was put out by Cara’s lack of enthusiasm in Combat today. However, when I thought about it I figured it was for the best. Cara was strong and to have explosions with her energy’s magnitude could not only be harmful but most likely deadly in a literal sense.
“Oh... that’s okay Cameron. She never said she wouldn’t keep trying. She just doesn’t want to take a chance that she’ll hurt anyone else. She’s only getting the hang of it after all” He shrugged and nodded, but Bree on the other hand seemed quite excited to be fighting amongst other Abled. I guess she and the other Elementals had something to prove.
“Alright! Your two minutes is up! When I open these doors you have twenty seconds to find a cover before a siren will go off! When that siren goes off that is when you can begin! Got it?! Good! Go!”
Coach Shulk thrust the double doors open and everyone scrambled to run inside with their partners close at their side. I was shoved side to side before Derrek grabbed my hands with his hot, rough ones and pulled me through the doors as he shoved other students aside.
As soon as I entered the gym I was dumbstruck at how different it looked. I had expected to see the usual circular gymnasium that was cut up between a forest, desert, lake and infirmary but instead I was looking straight into an old, ruined city. It looked like what the city would be after an apocalypse. Tall skyscrapers were broken in half and buildings of all shape and sizes were dull and broken. Windows were shattered sprinkling its glass all over the dirty cement pathways and roads while others were boarded up with planks of splintering wood.
Few buildings and overturned cars were set alight and the smell of smoke and burning rubber met my nose as I tried not to gag. Trees were growing through cracks in the gravel road while weeds and thick vines swirled in and out of buildings, as though trying to take back the world from the man made mess. My eyes slowly rose up as it followed the thick smoke that billowed heavily in a dark grey cloud, which explained the lack of light, and everywhere dirt and dust covered everything like a blanket.
“Tadpole! Come on let’s go!” Derrek shouted as he pulled me towards a burnt down bakery. The door was boarded shut so we jumped through the shattered window cracking shards of glass beneath our heavy boots. “Quick, find some water”
The sounds of shouting and footsteps reverberated through the ruined city and I quickly looked around the bakery in search of water. Derrek was at the gas stove which had a small fire burning and was quickly constructing himself a small hand gun while I had yet to find any sink with working water pipes.
I was about to run past him into the back room when an ear splitting siren sounded from above us. I shrieked and caught my foot on the corner of the gas stove and fell. As I fell, I tried to catch myself on a thick pipe behind the stove and instead of holding me upright it broke in half, spraying me with black dirt.
“What the crap was that?!” I spluttered as I coughed out faint clouds of black dust. I was about to dust it off but Derrek grabbed my wrist with a calculating look on his face.
“That’s a great idea Tadpole!” he whispered happily. I eyed him, utterly lost by what he meant until he stuck his hand into the pipe and smudged more black dust over my face.
“Sparky! What the hell are you do-?!”
“Camouflage, Tadpole. Camouflage” was his response. He did the same on himself and I could suddenly understand what he meant.
In the back room I spied a deep set sink with a bucket that was filled with water from the dripping tap. I felt relief for the first time since walking into the gym and began gathering the water into a two hand guns. I shoved one down the back of my black jeans while momentarily placing the other on the sink while I began focusing on creating ice grenades.
Outside, the sounds of shouting and screams filled the air when bullets weren’t being fired. Explosions shook the buildings and thick dust particles fell from the crumbling ceiling. “Hurry up Tadpole!” Derrek shouting as he began firing from the corner of the broken window. I froze the grenades to my belt and ran into the front room only to fall down to the ground when a stray rock bullet came flying inches from my face.
“You ready?” I shouted to Derrek. He nodded once and peeked outside. His gun was a bright, smouldering orange weapon that glowed like the magma bullets within, he rolled his shoulders back and peeked once more outside. The shouting and shooting seemed to have moved farther away.
“You cover me, Tadpole, understand? I’ll take the lead. Okay? Ready... let’s go!” Derrek stood tall and jumped through the window while I followed behind. We dashed across the road and I was beginning to think this was way too easy. I had yet to even fire a shot!
Suddenly two heads ran past a window and I quick to spin in their direction. I held out the frozen ice hand gun and focused hard on the inside of the barrel. I could imagine the frozen bullet that lay ready to be shot and as I squeezed the trigger I pushed the bullet out and felt the force push at my arm.
All this happened within a second and no sooner had the bullet left did I squeeze the trigger again to hit the other person. Both bullets sunk into the other students; one in the shoulder while the other was hit across their back. I spun my attention back to Derrek and saw he had run farther than I expected.
I pushed myself harder, jumping over small boulders and avoiding the flaming car, until I ran two paces behind Derrek. The loud sounds of shooting and explosions were drawing closer and a sudden rush of adrenaline kicked through my system. I was about to run across the intersection when a large fire bullet graced my hip. Derrek pulled me back as I hissed in pain and flattened us against the side of the crumbling building behind us.
“Damn! Are you oka-?!” Derrek began to say when he suddenly covered my body with his own and began firing at a couple hiding behind a car.
“Sparky watch out!” I shouted in his ear as I pulled him down behind a metal box and began firing my own gun. Rocks, magma, fire and ice were flying through the air with their owners desperately trying for a hit when I realised there was more than one couple firing at us.
The shots we were following earlier had crawled closer and it seemed as though we were now in the midst of it all. And were very, very exposed. Derrek and I were sitting ducks out in the open pathway with nothing but a bent and dented postage mail box as a shield. So far, it was a miracle that we hadn’t been taken out.
“Just give up!” I managed to hear the guy shout from behind the car.
“Sparky! We need to move! We’re no good here, we’ll get... Ah!” I staggered to the side as another bullet made of ice sliced into my shoulder. “Sparky! Let’s go!”
A small flame bullet grazed across Derrek’s cheek and I hauled him up as we sprinted across the street. With our back to each other we fired round after round at either other students or just in the general direction of bullets.
“Get inside the building, Sparky” I ordered him grabbing hold of the grenade that was frozen to my belt.
“Tadpole! You’re supposed to be following after me! Not getting in front of the damn bullets! Get back!” I ignored him completely and instead caught him off guard as I shoved him backwards into a small newsagency.
Hot air whipped past my face as I spun back around and threw two grenades at a car parked by the flaming car. The ice blue grenades fell down and just as it approached the car I spread my fingers wide detonating both the grenades. The ball of ice split into thousands of shards of ice and pierced downwards like a rain storm of frozen swords.
“Watch out!” A boy shouted as the girls screamed and covered their heads as they ducked down and looked away. The majority of the icicles pierced into the car, ripping the metal apart, while I was able to hit a few other students.
Behind me I could hear Derrek shooting again and I screamed as a skin ripping pain bit at the same shoulder that had been hit earlier. Instead of the one bullet, I felt many pin prick holes... someone had managed to hit me with shot gun bullets! Derrek’s angry shouts filled the small newsagency as he shot at the hidden couple who shared the store with us.
There was less shooting and exploding going on now and I assumed it was from the amount of Abled being injured extensively and were being taken to a Healer. Now that I thought about it, sending students to shoot and throw explosive at each was crazy! Something that would only be found in this university because we had access to Healers.
I slumped down to the ground leaning against the wall, wincing in pain as every graze and bullet hole throbbed. Derrek fell to his knees by me, panting hard and sweating like he’d run around the world and back. “Are you okay Tadpole?” he gasped.
I looked down and noticed he was bleeding through several holes by his stomach. “Jesus, look at you Sparky!” I cried. He shook his head and attempted an eye roll.
“It looks worse than it feels...” I doubted it, but decided to humour him. “I say we have one last go and take out as many as we can, if you’re up to it”
I choked on a laugh but groaned when laughing pulled at my shot skin. “I say bring it on”
He smiled a lopsided smile, thanks to the graze that marred his cheek, “That’s why I love you. You’re a tough girlfriend... I’d better watch my back”
“Don’t you know it!”
Derrek hauled himself up heavily before wrapping his fingers around my wrist and pulling me up slowly. He squashed his gun and left in its wake were four explosives that resembled a burning piece of coal. He gathered more fire from the burning newspapers and soon he held ten bombs. I copied him and transformed my hand guns into grenades. Grenades were much easier to focus on in the long run.
“There’s not much water here... I only have five grenades left” I gasped.
“Well... make them count then, Tadpole”
We counted to three and with a battle cry we sprinted out side by side, my ocean blue and his swirling gold eyes zoning in on any large enough group of students before throwing our grenades and bombs. As we ran forward explosion after explosion of fire and ice boomed loudly behind us before either billowing up in smoke or raining down as icicles.
I was on my last grenade when a large stray bullet clipped my wrist making me lose focus on it. “Oh crap” I whispered before my grenade detonated by my feet and broke apart, splintering into razor sharp shards of ice and piercing my skin as well as Derrek’s. Pain resonated on me everywhere and everything was becoming blurry. Shouts, screams, shots and explosives began to muffle, as though I was listening to them from under water.
I felt rough gravel on my knees before feeling it on my back as everything began to disappear or fade away, including the pain. The smell of smoke and burning rubber invaded my nose The last thing I saw was Derrek covering me with his body and the faint sound of a siren blowing.
That was long! It’s 3am here... I told you I love you all...
I also do not encourage shooting other people, this is a strictly ‘Do Not Try This At Home’ kind of scene. I also do not condone violence, I get this has violent scenes... but... just don’t it. Please excuse any mistakes... I’m dead tired.
PS. Dedicated to @BlazingShadow for being so understanding in your comment in the last chapter. I love that!