Hot and Cold
Room 13 is quieter than when we had first left it, even with the twins and two other guardians now here. Nat, Asher and Cala are the only ones missing. I’m sitting on the same bean bag I had been on before only this time no one else is by me. The Tv is off and the controllers haven’t been touched.
I get a faint sense of déjà vu. Everyone is on the opposite side of the room as me, glancing over with eyes full of curiosity and fire. It’s easy to think that they’re scared of me, but deep down I know that it’s not me they’re afraid of. They are afraid of the unknown, of what I’m seeing that they aren’t. Hell, I’m afraid of the same thing.
The lights flicker above us, which would usually be thought of as normal but today is different. This time it isn’t because of the strange magic that the lights barely know how to handle, it’s because of something much more dangerous. Something electric.
“What do you see?” Candace asks me from across the room but I don’t look at her.
“I- I’m not sure yet.”
My heart pounds inside my chest and I reach inside my pocket, grazing my fingers across the cracked frames. I pull them out and look through the glass, imagining the blue that used to be behind them. A little bit of relief washes over me. Katie always knew how to calm me down… Plover could do the same.
“You wear glasses?” Candace comes to sit next to me, not too close though.
“Um, no, they were my best friends. She turned the day of the awakening and left them behind.”
“You’ve kept them all this time?”
“Yeah… I guess I was hoping that someday I’d be able to give them back to her. Also, they keep me close to her in a way.”
“She must have really been something…” she whispers and I only nod my head, becoming distracted by the buzzing again. “You know, since you have an item connected to her, I could use a tracking spell to help you find her.
I look up in shock, flashes of her red eyes running through my mind.
Before I’m able to answer the door burst open and in comes an enraged angel. Her feathers are spread and malice is dripping from her lips. I stand up from my seat instantly, shove the glasses back in my pocket and try to focus in on her. At first, it’s difficult with my mind wandering but I’m able to recover.
“Show me your shoulder’s.” She spits, walking incredibly close to me.
“What?” I rasp out, folding my arms protectively.
Nat and Asher come in behind her with worried looks on their faces.
“Please calm down, Cal.” Nat tries to diffuse.
“Like hell.” She’s says ironically. “There is no way I would ever put runes on her on purpose let alone on accident. I have to see for myself. Now show me your shoulders.”
My mouth falls open but no words escape, so I just shake my head. Taking orders from this psycho is the last thing I want to do… Besides, I’m not wearing anything under my hoodie.
She growls underneath her breath and before I know it, she reaches out and rips the sleeves off my arms.
“Hey!” I yell out and try to move away but she holds onto my elbows and takes a look at my brands.
“Shit.” She says under her breath. “You have got to be kidding me. Now I have two more problems to deal with. One, I’m stuck with you and two, I can’t kill you without killing myself. Just great.”
The shock finally wears off and I’m able to shove her off of me. “What the hell are you talking about.”
She scoffs and looks at me like I’m stupid. “Angels don’t just fly and use light magic; we have special connections with certain people. Each meaning something different and each belong to only one person. It could mean a soul mate, a journey we are meant to go on or in your case… a guardian.”
“Yeah… you guys are the guardians…?”
“Oh my god, are you stupid? I’m your official guardian angel now. You die, I die. Like I said, just great.”
“No way.” I say after it finally hits me what she’s saying. “We hate each other, I don’t want you to be my guardian angel.”
“You think I want this? I’m just as mad about it as you are.”
“Well… take it back.”
Her eyes squint and she puts her hand on her head, blowing out a puff of air. “Gee why didn’t I think of that.” she says sarcastically, then folds her arms. “I can’t you idiot. If I could, don’t you think I would’ve already?”
“Great.” I mimic her. “Just great.”
She’s about to respond when a loud high pitched screech ricochets through my ears. Instantly, I cover my ears and bend over to face the ground.
“What’s wrong?” somebody says and puts there hand gently on my back.
“You don’t hear that?!”
The lights burst loudly and sparks fly across the room. The noise stops and I’m finally able to look up but cover my eyes soon after.
Once it cools down, the room is full of loud breathing and panicked voices.
“You saw that right?” I ask Nat, who I realize was the one talking to me.
“Yeah, we did.”
I nod my head and my legs begin moving out of the room on their own accord. I have no idea where I’m going but I can hear everyone following close behind me. After a few seconds I realize that I am are heading towards Miri’s office. My pace picks up as I finally realize what my mind is telling me to do.
The door is wide open and broken off of its hinges. We all hurry inside to find the place in shambles and one of the filing cabinets up in flames. Lightening marks are imprinted into the walls. Asher and Mitchel go to put out the fires while the rest of us look for Miri, only to find her barely conscious behind her desk. Her head is drizzling with blood but once she sees us, she instantly tries to get up.
“The girl- she, you have to- “she stutters, not making much sense. “She’s scared.”
“Lay down, Miri.” Candace says, pushing her head onto her lap. “Don’t exert yourself. You have to let me heal you.”
“No, the girl- you have- you have to find her.” She’s talking better now but still very out of breath. “Find her before she hurts anybody else, or herself. She’s just scared.”
We all look around at each other unsure of to do. Then as if it were choreographed, all eyes turn to me at the same time.
“Why are you looking at me?”
“You’re the one who sensed this coming.” Carter says bluntly.
“That doesn’t mean I know what I’m doing!” I practically scream out.
The eyes turn away from me instantly, and begrudgingly go to Cala. She has on an annoyed façade but I can see through to the worry. I have a feeling she cares a lot more then she lets on.
“We should-” for the first time I think she doesn’t know what to do.
Yet I can think very, very clearly. The static in my ears is gone almost completely, even with the lights still flickering slightly.
“The electricity.” I say, and once again the attention is back on me. “Ever since that girl got here -even before- the air felt… electric. I mean, look at the walls. Those are clearly lightening streaks.”
“What exactly are you trying to say, stupid.” Cala squints at me, using my new apparent nick name. I just ignore her.
“What if I can find her by feeling the static in the air? Like hot and cold?”
“That’s actually not a bad idea.” Carter states, going behind his sister to help hold her up while she heals Miri.
“Wait wait wait.” Asher says coming up behind me and scaring the crap out of me. “Don’t your powers lead to -I don’t know- death?”
He makes a good point.
Miri latches onto my arm and everyone zones in on her. “You can stop death too, before it happens.” She takes a few breaths to recover. “Save her.”
It doesn’t take much else for us all to get up and rush out of the room. The twins, Reid and her brother are the only ones to stay behind. The rest of us in our troupe head out quickly, not worrying about changing into dark clothes like last time. Nat tells me that its almost 1 AM outside so we don’t have to worry about too many people.
We walk for about an hour down different streets and allies. I’m constantly honing in on what I feel and hear, waiting for the static to get louder and quieter so I can move in the right direction. I expect Cala to get annoyed with how many times we have to turn around and go a different way but she doesn’t. It isn’t until I see that Nat is holding her hand that I realize she must be able to calm her down somehow.
The static runs through my right ear so I follow it through an alley that leads to a chain link fence. It’s not currently open but there isn’t any type of lock on it. Behind the fence is an old grey brick building with an ‘NYM’ logo faded on the wall.
“I think she’s here, it’s the loudest here.” I say to the other as I walk up to the gate and try to open it.
As soon as my fingers graze against the metal a large shock runs through my body and I instantly jump back.
“What is it?” Nat asks but Cala just walks past me to open the gate.
“No wait! It will shock you-.” I try to say but she just easily opens it.
“Keep it moving.” She rolls her eyes and gestures us in.
We all do as she says and make our way towards the building. Before we can make it anywhere near, white wings flare out in our path. Almost making me topple over backwards.
Her wings go down and she whips around to face us. “That’s far enough, you’ve done your part.”
“What? No, I’m coming with.”
“No, you’re not. From what we saw in Miri’s office she is dangerous and clearly unhinged. I can protect myself, you can’t.” Cala says, giving off the first sign of concern I have ever seen from her. “Nat stay out here with her and make sure she doesn’t try to follow, Asher you come with me.” She doesn’t give me any time to respond and instantly turns around.
Ash follows her but stops to give me a flirty look first. “Don’t worry babe, I’ll be fine. You and I are the only ones with real sparks.” He winks at me and runs after the angel.
I have to refrain from gagging.
The rush over to an open door on the left side of the building and disappear inside. It seems like forever that they are inside, though I know it’s only been a few minutes. I’m pacing back and forth while also straining my ears to hear anything going on inside.
“They’re gonna be alright. Cala is smart and Asher is strong.” Nat tries to coax me into not worrying.
“They’ve been gone forever though.” I say and sit down next to her on a little stone slab.
“It’s only been like five minutes.” She chuckles, though I can tell she’s nervous.
“It’s too quiet.” I wince as I pick hard at the palm of my hand.
Not a single sound has been heard since they entered the building. No flaps of wings, cracks of thunder, screams of pain… just silence.
I’ve never been on this side of the city before. There are buildings surrounding us, ones that are occupied and some that aren’t. This factory is somehow hidden between them all. The only entrance and I can see is the gate we went through that leads to the alley.
We never would’ve found this place if it wasn’t for our little game of hot and cold. It really makes me wonder how the girl found it. It could be that she had been here before, maybe lived or worked in one of the surrounding buildings. Maybe it could be a coincidence, or maybe something more sinister.
From what I’ve learned so far about my powers is that there is reason for everything I hear, see and feel. The last woman I saw, I couldn’t save. I didn’t understand and to tell the truth I still don’t. This girl… she could need my saving but I’m scared this time she may be the cause of the destruction. Not the inflicted.
A flash of yellow hair passes through my peripheral vision and I quickly look to the other entrance of the building. Nothing else follows behind it so Cala and Asher must be somewhere else. I look to Nat and see that she didn’t notice what I saw. Her eyes are trained on the door our friends had not long disappeared in to.
I stand up and without thinking, walk to the opening.
“Lark, stop! Cala said to stay out here.” Nat yells out, but she doesn’t follow me.
The buzzing has evened out now. No matter which way I turn, the intensity of it stays the same. Instead, I have to follow my instincts, which haven’t failed me yet.
There’s a strange stench that fills my nose when I enter. Rotting and rust. The entire premise has the mustiness of a morgue and light ten times duller than the bunker. Feelings of nausea enter my stomach and throat, settling into something terrible.
I open my mouth to call out a name, but shut it when I realize I never actually heard what this girl is called.
“Hello?” Is what I say instead. “My name is Lark and um I’m not here to hurt. I just want to help you.”
A sharp whisper of someone saying “help” shoots past my ear. I follow it and end up going a flight of stairs. The voice speaks to me one more time when I get to the second floor, where a door is the only thing separating me from it. From her.