The bulb of a distant street lamp exploded. Then the next and the next as all the street lamps behind us started exploding in a rapid crescendo of shattering glass. We did not have time to turn around. We knew what a surge of that much power meant. A Cursèd.
“Ophelia we have to run,” was all I had time to spit out as my heels left the ground and I broke into a sprint. My white dress and blonde hair struggled to catch up with my speeding frame.
“Yeah, I kind of assumed as much, Sophia!” as she quickly caught up to me. My sister was always faster than me, stronger than me too. Our footsteps were the only ones we could hear, as the night air stood still. The lights next to us finally exploded, they’re near. Sparks showered us, and for a minute time slowed. I had just enough time to turn and catch my sister’s eye contact. Sparks illuminated the sides of her head, her blonde hair shining but her naturally white hair poked through with the direct lighting. Her pale skin and sparse freckles nearly reflected the light back into the moonlit night sky. But her eyes, her ocean eyes said two things to me at the same time. Keep running. I love you.
I remembered the last day her hair was white, nearly a decade ago, when my sister and I were in primary school together - she was already in year 4 while I was just starting year 1. I was a little frail thing back then, with my big blonde curls and my tiny button nose and little brown eyes. Shy. That’s how my parents introduced me to my teachers and that’s how I introduced myself to my classmates. No other words would escape my lips that day, even during recess when my ‘new friends’ quickly used me as the butt of all their jokes. Eventually, it got to the point that I became more than just a verbal target, as people wanted to see how many times they could hit ‘Shy Sophia’ with the football ‘by accident’ before I would tell them to stop. All I could do was cry quietly to myself, as I was too scared to stand up. Ophelia saw me, or at least, I assume she did as I still had not raised my head.
“Oi! Leave her alone. That’s my sister you’re messing with!” bellowed from her 4th-year form. Though she was not much older than 8 years old, she had grown quickly for her age, nearly a head taller than any of the boys in recess.
“How were we ’sposed to know? She doesn’t like ’lot like you!” as a few of the rowdier boys laughed amongst themselves. They’ve really done it now, I chuckled quietly, Ophie hates when people claim she is not my sister. I still have not raised my head, but I heard a scream, and for a moment I swear the sky grew darker around my sister as a cloud passed by the sun. I do not know why they screamed, but I’m sure she hit them with the football or something, as I heard some kind of thud.
“How were we ’sposed to know? She doesn’t like ’lot like you!” as a few of the rowdier boys laughed amongst themselves. They’ve really done it now. I chuckled quietly, Ophie hates when people claim she is not my sister. I still have not raised my head, but I heard a scream, and for a moment I swear the sky grew darker around my sister as a cloud passed by the sun. I do not know why they screamed, but I’m sure she hit them with the football or something, as I heard some kind of thud.
The next day, my sister came to school with her hair “blonde like mine,” though it looked a bit more highlighter yellow, which I suspected she used to ‘dye’ her hair. She walked me to my first class and stared right at the boys, who all recoiled quickly into their chairs. Before I entered the class, she had crouched down to look me in the eyes. “Being shy and being weak are not the same, Soph, remember that,” as her blue eyes seemed to lighten just a little, like an ocean dappled by the rays of a warm sun. “Oh and one more thing,” she ruffled my hair, and then raised a single finger. “I. Love. You.” as she punctuated each word with a gentle tap on my nose.
As the sparks hit the ground, we broke into a deadman’s sprint. Our surroundings became a bobbing blur as we hit the ground harder and harder with each footfall. The clack of the sidewalk transitioned into a splash as the area beneath our feet became wet. There were no clouds in the sky, nor was it raining, but it felt like a puddle had appeared beneath our feet. The water started to rise, we kept running and started screaming too. No, screaming does not explain our blood-curdling screeches as we hoped for the help of the homeowners across the park. The last lamp in the park exploded, and now the only source of light was the police station nearly a kilometer away. As the edges of our white, church gowns started to get wet we knew our time was limited, but we kept pushing. We could only hear our own voices and the sloshing of water around us, as the grassy park flooded rapidly. But then, we started to hear another sound. Something was rapidly approaching behind us, skimming through the water. We had nearly made it, when the water got to our knees and the figure’s shadow started to reach for our own.
Then my sister stopped.
I stopped too, and Ophelia grabbed my shoulders. She brought her forehead to mine, as I began to cry. This was it. With a start, her head left mine. She raised a single finger. She tapped my nose three times, and then pushed me forward. No. She threw me forwards. As I flew into the empty street in front of the police station, I turned in the air to look at my sister Ophelia one last time. With that same finger, she pointed to the figure, and whatever ambient moonlight was left in the sky disappeared.
Her hair stood on end, as the area around her now submerged legs started glowing a bright blue. A bright electric blue. Lightning exploded around her and the figure, as if they were struck by it. As it hit the flooded park, the entire 5-kilometer area exploded into brilliant blue light. Then the air smelled of copper and tungsten and the humid air refracted the light into a pearlescent phantasm. Blinding white lights with blue and green polychromatic streaks lit up the night sky and the smell of burning flesh and singed hair flooded my nose.
Blood flooded the back of my head as I crashed through the police station’s door. My vision started to darken and all I could see was my sister kneeling in the nearly evaporated park. Thin, gossamer strings of light blue water vapor trailed off of her. I blinked slowly; as my eyes opened for the last time that night, I watched as the figure appeared in front of her, its skin charred black and nearly all of its black, business suit shredded. It grabbed my sister and both of them sunk into the remaining water.
“Miss? Are you okay?” was the last thing I heard as my senses left me that night.
“Miss? Miss Bronte?” I caught myself staring in my small cup of water, my reflection showing me a middle-aged woman with long, braided blonde hair and brown, determined eyes. I brought my stern gaze back to my lieutenant and the rest of our team.
“I’m going to get her back” and with one fluid motion I took out one of my pocket knives and threw into our completed all-points-bulletin across the conference table and skewered the photograph of our suspect. A figure in a black suit, black hat, and a nasty black burn that destroyed most of their facial features. All the red threads converged on their alias above it. Cursèd Serial Killer: Maelstrom.
I took a moment to breathe. Okay Sophia, you’ve done it, you made your way to the top and the investigation is coming to an end. All you have to do is find this ‘Maelstrom’ character and she’ll be there. She has to be there.