It was morning and the Powers family had left the St. Barns Hotel. Leon thought he would get a chance to see Nora, but was disappointed. She wasn’t in the building, she was then sweating out running in her track clothes as explained by the flippant hotel clerk - he was sporting a t-shirt that read happy end of the world.
Leon was traveling with his family in their red jeep down the coast line. As they head down the highway, his dad dodged the abandoned cars, and figurines scattered across its sides. If you were outside, Leon had heard it was possible to see the stars- lots of shooting stars - a few figurines were plastered to their cars. On the side of the road, Transformed, evil with dissonant cries, ran up from the nearby coastal towns. Marcus speed up so the hungry transformed would not get a bright happy meal.
The ocean tide was moving in and out as huge hundred feet waves spread and ebbed. Their were some pseudos basking on the shore in the sun or picking up fish to cook by the water. One girl had eyes that were yellow and piercing staring into him. He thought if angels were three colors they would probably look like her.
They were getting near to Mamia. The blue sky had a slight black line that seemed to provide light, but the rest of the sky seemed completely ordinary. It was accepted like everything else in the Epoch of the stars, this kind of refulgent mark would occasionally appear in the sky before it would disappear. Were other worlds getting divided as well? He mused before his mind began to wander.
Soon he began to joke around with his brother Mark in the back seat of the car. He grafted some different rocks onto a vine with a smite and they played catch in the back seat. Leon began to enjoy the car ride. They had so much fun it made him begin to worry. What if something bad happened to his family? When you see a kid grow up from when your four years old for fourteen years you begin to get attached, and same thing with his parents he knew for eighteen years.
Unfortunately, Marcus interrupted Leon’s worries, he pointed to a sign that clearly read their distance from Mamia was less than thirty miles. There were dense crowds of quick-footed transformed running in various attire. They approached with suits, dresses, and different tourist getup, feeling an urge from the stars inside their stomach’s. They ran forward with an impetuous desire to feed and feast.
Marcus stepped on the gas accelerating up to around 200 miles past the voracious crowd. A few screamed in Agony as they missed the Brights. These embryonic transformed pursued with celerity and kept chasing after the red jeep. Mark had seen fast transformed, but these were some of the fastest.
Leon’s dad commented that the stars might of created heterogeneous transformed that differed from city. He agreed with his dad and had his extrapolations.
Leon figured all the Mamians that transformed probably inherited a special star that boosted their bodies. Luckily, he and his family were from the line so they should be able to handle it. Right? His dad pulled over at a gas station that was a few miles from the city and swerved into a parking spot. It had a convenience store with ogee vines grown up the walls. They huddled and planned for entering Area 8.
Mamia, the city of skyscrapers, was known for its tall towers and surrounding variegated buildings. The center had the spiraling skyscrapers, the tallest in the north built on reinforced bedrock. The rest of the city had a mix of colorful houses, churches and stores with an abundance of bright colors. The entire city was built in a circle, and the ballooned vines with their sharp leaves and spearhead thorns rebuffed all from entering through the main roads. The city of Mamia had capitulated to wild life, destruction, and anarchy with the few presumed survivors indoors.
The wind was blowing at an above normal speed. A dissonant whistle sound could be heard depending on where you were in the town. Leon scouted it with his brother. He was impressed by the sheer amount of powerful creatures inside the town. His brother was inadvertently herding the monsters as he jumped on a building and prepared for the culling.
Leon had sat down on one of the smaller buildings on Main street, it was a few blocks away from the circle of skyscrapers. He saw an old home where he guessed a few Mamians lived before the cataclysm. He noticed the house had brick walls that crumbled after the stars had passed, which left it unstable - a strong wind might knock it over. The windows opaque and ruined were surprisingly pretty. It had an unfathomable aesthetic, archaic quality – like the code of life was drawn on the walls.
A few unlucky kids became figurines playing in the streets, they were young kids - god I hope they open he mused. At least they don’t have to clean up the mess. His stomach hurt thinking about it, and he began to fret about his classmates that he knew were in the cloud on vacation in the south of the line. Luckily, his family decided to stay in Cantano continent and didn’t head further south.
He looked at his brother who was approaching quickly down main street with a rapt expression. Behind him was an army of transformed he gathered. Leon knew Mark could handle about 50 of these freaks by himself, but would need his help with a large crowd. His brother didn’t seem worried, he knew his brother trusted him a lot. He was one day worried he would do something stupid. He had powers, but he wasn’t invincible.
He watched as Mark smiled and turned around. Mark punched and swung his fist at a few of the woman monsters behind him. Leon figured his brother thought this was a game. Mark assailed with alacrity nobly slaying the monsters like a gallant hero clearing away pawns.
Mark had razed a few buildings easily with a few attacks to some of the faster transformed. Oddly, the closer he got to the city the stronger the transformed were. It’s like they had established a hierarchy and he and his brother were about to get a taste.
A few other of the monsters were kicked up into the sky sucking in the air. “Kill em, Leon!” Mark screamed.
Leon had time to prepare a lot of spells while waiting. Around him were countless balls of fire, frozen bullets, and dangerous icicles. He gesticulated like he commanded an army. The ice bullets perfectly hit the vanguard of the transformed between their eye balls.
Plop! Plop! Plop! Plop!
The flanks on the side of the transformed fell soon after. Mark jumped onto a blue crumbling building and then hopped over to his brothers side.. “Cast a few black blazes.” Mark insisted.
“You got it. I’ll take care of em.” Leon looked like a pyromaniac casting black fire orbs gushing out of his hands. The monsters tried to dodge the black fire but were soon swept up in a blazing, terrifying conflagration. There were still a few more transformed that made it through the fire. He looked at his brother who had that glint in his eyes.
“I’ll go clean it up Leon. Be right back” Mark fervently expressed.
Mark bashed away the rest of the transformed quickly . Skulls were flying as Leon watched on top of the building. A few struck back at Mark, but he punched them a few blocks away. He was almost done with the transformed as he found himself looking into the black fire burning in the streets. He felt a feeling in his gut that seemed to say something bad was going to happen. Mark noticed his intuition had gotten better like his gut developed into a second brain. He couldn’t tell what the presentiment was about. It made him feel extremely apprehensive. He had an idea to calm himself down so he hit a transformed like a line drive towards a nearby building. Another hungry, and fast transformed pounced.
“Check this out Brother!” Mark’s belligerent calming method was unleashed. He fired his foot into a monsters scratched face before a line of light shot off towards one of the buildings.
“I destroyed a few buildings with that kick brother, what do you think?” Mark asked.
“I think you need to be more careful Mark! Remember the report about the people indoors? Do you think this is a playground?” He sounded condescending, but he didn’t mean it. He had to admonish his younger brother. It was the job of every older brother. What if he ended up hurting someone?
Mark took in a breathe. “You know I’m always careful Leon, I just can’t stand seeing this ruined city. What’s so wrong with having some fun?
“You know the answer to that, Mark. Mom and dad will be here in a minute, go show them the way I’ll wait here” Leon commanded.
Mark turned off and sped away. He didn’t have the heart to tell his brother about the dreaded prediction. Leon was on top of the building brooding on the earlier incident, his brother always had an explanation for something.
Leon looked at the rubble from the brawl. He definitely had a huge mess to clean up. Some water floated up, and he squeezed his hands before it swept like a snake onto the burning black conflagration. In a few minutes it was all cleaned up. He figured he would be a pretty good fire fighter.
Leon stood on top of his building before noticing a kid had gotten smashed by his brothers attack. All he saw was his feet left on the ground, and the ball by his feet - he never knew what hit him.
His family was speeding down Main street. His mom and dad were sitting on Marks shoulders casting spells as their son ran. Marcus long casts were powerful and now fully charged. He unleashed a ice nest that coagulated from the ground packing up the transformed into a ball.
Leon met Mark and his family a few minutes later.
Mark jumped onto the building where Leon was sitting and gazing. Leon gave his family a solemn smirk before feeling his anger rise. Next, he was probably going to say something he didn’t know how to say, or maybe he wouldn’t express himself properly. Regardless, he gave it a try.
“Mom and Dad, Mark here sent a transformed flying into a building. I told him that there could be people inside, but he shrugged it off. I looked down later and saw a figurine was smashed to pieces.”
“Brother why do you always have to tell our parents. I didn’t mean it! I already told you I was doing my job!” Mark lashed.
“Well it’s not my fault you can’t control yourself. What if they figure out how to save the figurines? You may be strong but use your brain!” Leon scolded.
“Your brother is right Mark. You just smashed every hope of that kid. I know you didn’t mean it. Make sure you think about it. Now go hug your brother, and make up. ”
“Come here bro” Mark tossed out his arms. Overall, he was very magnanimous. He also felt like he dodged a bullet. It wasn’t his fault he protected himself. His brother seemed to calm down as well. He was just doing his brotherly duty he figured.
They hugged for a few seconds before the anger slowly left their bodies. Next, they were going to have another serious Power’s family meeting since phase one was a success.
They were on a three story blue apartment building adorned with Gothic statues. A red door on the roof was cracked open, and their first plan was to go find a base - luckily the door was open. They walked towards the entrance as his father edified Mark who was previously crestfallen.
Leon opened the door and they entered into a quaint stairwell. It had paintings on what he guessed were relatives of the house owner. A few proud men with white beards and blue eyes with gray overcoats were realistically detailed, they had a similar proud smile. As he and his family walked down the staircase, they got off on the 2nd floor. Vases with rotting withered plants drooped next to the walls. He walked up to another red door that he cracked open really quietly lest they provoke a dormant(sleeping transformed).
Mark commented on how he was able to hear the sound of water drops and a few groans from the transformed in the streets, but for the most part it seemed quiet. The Powers walked into a living room with high ceilings. They planned on having their meeting.
In the background, there was some small audible sounds, it seemed to be from, was it possible, a television set - did people still watch television? Marcus pointed to Maria as they starting walking down the hallway towards the noise. There were three rooms on this floor. The noise was coming from the middle smallest room in the hallway. Maria walked in first before the family followed.
Inside the room there was a flat screen with a couch and bed, but nothing except a curled blanket even indicated a person was in the room. However, to their surprise, as soon as they walked in, they noticed the blanket move. A body slowly turned in the blanket, red and orange sheet, slowly facing over towards the Powers.
Maria had a small fireball floating in her palm aimed at the couch. She figured if this moving person, or thing was a problem she could burn it away.
The blanket rose up slowly as a few strands of lightly glowing black hair swung out from on top of a pillow. It was a girl with gorgeous aureate eyes that stared at the Powers. Her eyes turned back to a Hazel as she looked over.
“Mom? Dad?” The girl said. She could only see the silhouettes of the people that walked in the room.
“Oh thank god she can talk. Whats your name? ” Marcus probed
The girl was shocked by the male voice she heard. She also noticed the fire ball floating in the woman’s hand as her vision adjusted. Let’s not exacerbate the situation Gabby she reasoned. They definitely weren’t looking for you, and they wouldn’t need to steal anyway. She took in a breathe. Her vision cleared up in a few moments and she noticed the family. She cleared her throat and fixed her long shirt before rising off the couch.
She looked over at Leon before scanning the rest of the family.
“My name is Gabby Jones. I thought you were my parents. What are your names?”
“I’m Leon Powers and this is my brother Mark, Maria my mom, and Marcus my dad. What are you doing in this town?” He asked. Leon felt butterflies when he saw her. Her prettiest features were her cheek bones and button nose. She glowed like she had a power. Was she a bright?
Maria had already put away the fire ball after hearing the girls mellow voice. Gabby was trying to think of the right thing to say. She didn't really know what to say. Didn't this family just walk into her house? She couldn't blame them because they were in Mamia. It was like a ghost town. She waited for someone else to talk.
“We just walked in because we were looking for a place to stay for a bit.. I'm surprised to see you here in one piece. Leon said
Gabby dusted of her clothes and spoke.
“I’m originally from Mamia. Luckily I was out on a school trip near Kissena when the stars appeared. After the teachers abandoned us to go check on their families, I took a car that was on the road and came back to Mamia. They also were out of town, somewhere in Kissena, but I couldn't find them. I was hoping they would be looking for me, too. I've been waiting here for them to call, or message, or something. There is plenty of food because my mom had thought the world was gonna end. We have what she called an end of the world pantry. I'm surprised to see a family down here. What brings you to my modest house?
Leon and his family looked at each other. He felt embarrassed they ended up walking in the only house on the block that had a person in it. His mom smiled at him.
“We were looking for a place to have a meeting. Our son happened to pick this building. We noticed the door open so we walked in. We figured no one would be here. Your the first human we've seen in this entire town. Do you mind if we have our meeting? Maria asked.
Gabby nodded her head. She really didn't mind having company. She had been alone for a few months, it wasn't fun. Her only other encounters with people were when she was out venturing for food. Gabby figured it was a good idea to start up a conversation. She pointed at Marcus.
“You all have bright skin, a lot brighter than any I've seen. I can't help but ask can guys all smite?” Gabby was curious. She figured the guy who spoke first was definitely around her age if not a year older. The one in the back was definitely his younger brother. She felt slightly depressed seeing the family in front of her. It was nice that they were still together. She reasoned her way out of her sadness and leaned in. The father of the two looked really young-she hadn't seen him a few months ago.
“ Three of us can smite excluding Mark here. He is very fast and strong. Leon was looking out the window when the stars passed. We were close to him, but not as close. He also is an amplified. Does that answer your question?”
“ You glow even brighter then the heroes I've saw them on the news, fighting in the cities. I also was empowered by the stars. I have a power and amplification, but I can’t smite.”
She was on a bus on that day. She thought about that day a lot. They were on a trip to an art museum to see an exhibit by Louis Stein, a famous painter. If they didn't leave early she would of been in that museum, she would of turned into a monster. She was lucky they made it through. She now had a cool power as well.
“What is it?” Mark waited and then asked. He was enraptured when he heard the word power. He didn't know you could get a power. She seemed enthusiastic to show them.
“Look out for a little light that comes out of my body.” Gabby started to shine getting brighter and brighter before the small light created a diminutive doppelganger. “I call it fairy transverse." The doppelganger walked floated over to the can.
Gabby teleport to where her small doppelganger had been. She then picked up the can and started drinking. Her eyes were glowing gold. She put down the can as her vision returned. Leon was staring at her and Mark's mouth was agape.
“Thats awesome!” Mark yelled.
“It’s how I was able to get here safe and sound. Though it has a limit of 30 miles it can go through walls. It’s faster than I am and got me through a lot of transformed. I have so many stories I could tell you about it. But I'll save that for another time." She tried to hint she wanted them to stay around. She would try to chat with the Mom later; woman always seemed to get the hint.
“Can you do anything else?” Mark investigated.
“Well I can tell stories pretty well if you want. I guess I think my legs were amplified. I'm fast, but not that fast.” Gabby laughed
She really wasn't fast by the new standards. Fast in the Epoch of Stars was fast like a race car. She could possibly outrun a leopard, but that wasn't much. She looked at the young teenager and smiled.
“Maybe we can race sometime!” Mark opined. He was very competitive and only had raced his brother. He looked into her hazel dolorous eyes.
“Okay, sure! But I’m guessing your really fast. We can talk about it another time.” Gabby got up and stretched.
“I will show you guys to the dining room. Just try to stay away from the windows.”
Gabby starting walking down the hall way. She was wearing a long white florid t-shirt that leveled off a few inches below her knees- it was cute. Her black hair was about halfway down her back and was slightly curly. She was wearing slippers she had donned on the way out the door, with bunny ears. Her unkempt socks were cuddled inside connected to her bright, skinny legs. Leon was smitten.
Leon hoped that her parents were alright. He wondered if she’d ever smile the same way as in the mounted pictures of her and her parents, they were on the side of the staircase. She must of traveled a lot growing up. He reasoned. Leon was on the stairs behind his yawning brother. As he looked over, Gabby was pulling out the chairs on the oaken table. A few plates were setup. She started walking up the stairs giving Leon an attractive glance.
“ My favorite television show of the week is on! I'm going to finish it before I come down. Call me if you need anything” Gabby said running up the stairs. She also needed to change. That boy Leon isn't bad. She giggled with mirth and went to her room.
The Powers family sat down around the dining table. Marcus took out his reading glasses and rubbed away some of the dust. The rest of the family all sat down. Leon was gazing back at the staircase. His mind was on Gabby.
They were at the table for a few minutes as their dad drew up a plan. Maria had her hand on her chin. Everyone at the table was preparing for a meeting in their own way. Mark was busy fiddling with the silverware next to the porcelain plate. Leon was thinking about Gabby. They didn't do anything for a few minutes. Finally, Maria cleared her throat like she had to talk. They started the meeting. First, they talked about Gabby Jones, she won their approval. Second, they talked about their plan for the mission, it would be up to Mark and Leon. Finally, they also talked about lots of miscellaneous things, what they would do after the mission, and what they would eat.
A few minutes later Gabby came downstairs. The family had spread out. Gabby was wearing a kitten t-shirt and a pair of jeans. She gamboled down the stairways clearly happier then the last time she saw them. She gave Leon a quick glance before plopping onto the coach. She scooted over towards Leon, he was playing with a pen on the opposite side of the couch.
“So what did I miss?” she said and slapped him on the knees with a smile.
“My parents planned our way of entering into the city center. We just have to clean up the town and then we can head out of this city.” he replied
“Any chance you want to take me with you?” She flirted. She was not afraid to be seen as coquettish. She had a great first impression of him. He looked like a baseball player with his robust physique, and she kind of was into his unique birth mark. She kept waiting for him to talk, but he didn't.
Leon was staring at her confused. He didn't know what so say as a response. He was puzzled at first, but then thought about what she said. He laughed. What should he say? He was baffled before his thoughts were interrupted.
“What’s so funny?” Gabby inquired.
“It’s just hard to answer at the moment, there are a lot of factors. I think my parents like you, a lot. We actually were hoping to help you some way. I can talk to them about it. Why do you want to go with us?” Leon responded.
“I don't know if my parents will come back. They could be in a precarious situation, or worse, so it seems like a good option. They might have never left Kissena, and I'll feel safer with your family. I'll leave a message on the table telling them when I'll be back if I don't find them. It's been really lonely also and I think it's good idea to head over and search.” She finished
Leon thought about his mom's reaction. Maria usually liked helping out those in need, and Marcus was the same way. What if they couldn't find her parents? Would she then become a part of their family? It was a viable option.
"I'll talk to my parents about it after the mission is over. We plan on heading back to Head Quarters, and then going back to Kissena. We left some stuff back at our hotel. You might be in luck." he said
Gabby smiled at him. She felt like they had chemistry. She never really felt chemistry before with either of her two ex-boyfriends-they were boorish jerks. She watched him smile back at her before she remembered her last time 'shopping' outside.
“I actually scouted the town a few days ago. You guys should watch out for some of the giants(huge transformed) in the square by the towers. I heard about them on the news. They control the other transformed like head wolves.” Gabby explained.
Leon had never heard of Giants. He reminded himself to tell his brother when they were out on the mission. The plan was he and his brother stayed inside a labyrinth his dad cast. His parents would stay far back. He didn't want his parents to change the plan lest another family meeting. Leon then stood up and stretched.
"Thanks for the information Gabby." he said
Gabby raised her head.
“Your lucky you have a family with you Leon. Keep them safe! I'll be here waiting on my parents. When your done I'll feed you guys some of my mom's famous end of the world soup." She joked
Leon snickered before looking around the room. His mom was getting ready preparing a few spells. His brother, on the table, was munching on a Creme ice cream bar - did he take that? Marcus was holding on a few papers and jotting notes. A moment later they would have to go. He turned back towards Gabby who was sitting with her head titled onto the couch. She was gazing at him. A big smile spread across his face before his mom yelled.
Maria was standing over by the door, and the family obediently rushed over. She waved over Gabby. They all had somethings to say to her.
“I’ll race you when I get back Gabby.” Mark enthused.
Gabby nodded and smiled. He even has a cool younger brother she thought.
"Stay safe when were gone Gabby. They might get friskier after we start attacking." Marcus warned.
Mark kept feeling the presentiment with ambivalence. He didn't trust it. Nothing bad can happen with my brother around he figured. Though what about Gabby, was she safe? No! He told them without telling them.
“Mom and Dad I got this strong feeling that Gabby should come with us.” Mark whispered
“ You have nothing to be worried about Mark.” Maria told
Maria looked at Mark. She could read her son well and knew that he was upset about her answer. Her intuition was telling her to listen to her son, it was the look in his eyes. She lift up her hands and a little blue ball floated and swiveled forward over to Gabby.
“Mark is worried about you Gabby. Squeeze this and we'll head over."
Leon just looked into her eyes said good bye. He saw her smile at him before he walked out. The door closed quietly and she was left there alone hopefully looking out the window.