Syche: The Dark Element

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Chapter 10: The Wall

Chapter 10: The Wall

And again I saw you as the train pulled into the city. Technically, I did try to kill you that day. One of the seven people in the city I failed to kill.

I expect you still remember the exact number of people who died. I know you blame yourself for absolutely no reason at all. Of course, on reevaluation, I’m starting to agree with you.

###

Where do I go? Kael asked himself as he jogged along the gray streets. Yes! The slums are almost abandoned already. If it burns, it burns. Not a great loss. Kael stopped and let his chest fill with the cool ocean air, tasting the salt on the tip of his tongue. This plan would bring him away from Joshua he realized. Screw it. Even if Gianna flips back over to their side and Joshua is swamped four to one, he’ll manage. I’ve got the only competent fighter on me.

Kael kept on running, and the further he ran, the harder Zagan had keeping him in sight. His huge physique was built for power, not stamina. After the first two miles, sweat poured down his forehead, indistinguishable from the rain, and his breathing became short and rapid. Kael would stop and wait for him to catch up at the corners, only adding to Zagan’s frustration, but he was never foolish enough to fall into range of Zagan. He could use his powers to launch a spear of blood incredibly far and fast, no doubt, but that mattered little with enough distance between them.

As cat and mouse ran down the sidewalks, the scenery slowly degraded; the towering skyscrapers and office buildings were replaced with smaller apartments and, finally, dilapidated factories and warehouses. The initial crowds thinned and only latchkeys and delinquents remained. The thick air of the city grew even more caustic and heavy in their lungs.

Kael came to an intersection and felt out until he reached the invisible wall that was Zagan a black and a half away. He looked at the gutter by his feet and extended that energy into a sphere around him. No surprises. As Kael looked over a nearby warehouse abandoned and primed to use for combat, he jumped startled by the sudden tear in his sphere of control from above and the crash of something two feet behind. He turned and spied something that looked like hundreds of little rubies scattered over the sidewalk. Apparently Zagan had good aim sending that thing so closely.

Kael bolted for a large lot ahead, a giant rundown warehouse stood surrounded by a large iron fence. He sprung up as he hit the fence and feverishly clamored over, rolling over the top and alighting to the ground. He ran through the dirt yard and up to two massive sliding doors with a chain wrapping around the two rusty iron handles. A padlock with a slot in the bottom for a key held it all in place. He touched the lock with a finger as it burst into glorious orange flames followed by the chain exploding one link at a time. With a push, he shoved one of the sliding doors open and entered the dark building as Zagan pulled the blood from his robes and ripped a hole through the fence without slowing his pace.

Strutting inside, Kael scoped the place out. The floor was dusty and a dull light ushered in through the holes in the ceiling Large cement columns held a walkway on the second floor stretching around the perimeter. Steel beams supported the roof overhead, but they appeared as if they would collapse at any moment. Perfect. No one would bother them here.

Kael folded his arms across his chest and watched amused as Zagan stumbled into the warehouse. He clutched his massive, heaving chest unable to speak. He dripped with sweat. His right hand hung at his side charred and damaged. He had to be feeling it now.

“I’ll give you a minute if you need to catch your breath, if you really need it,” Kael said, his lips curled back in a toothy smile.

“I don’t, need your, sympathy,” panted Zagan.

“It’s no fun for me if you are beat before we start. And then I lose the chance to see what someone high ranking from your organization can do.”

“Aren’t you, ambitious?” Zagan spluttered. “You can’t beat me, and that means you certainly can’t beat the ones ranked higher than me. You don’t seem to understand this, but I work with some very scary people.”

“And how do you compare to them?”

“I don’t.”

“Shame,” Kael sighed. “All of the sudden, I’m not as interested. It’s especially unfortunate for you. I have no qualms about killing, unlike Joshua who’d beat you down and then try to be your friend. You’ll be ash shortly, and that’s what’s best for the world.”

Zagan smiled and stooped to one knee, willing the blood into the concrete floor. The floor cracked as he unearthed a water main. The water came gushing out spewing foamy, murky water. Zagan pulled every bit of blood he had collected and joined it with his own (a considerable amount, Blood Syches seemed to be able to do with less) before mixing it in with the water spewing from the ground. He lifted his hand and a light red liquid rise into the air and spin around him like a twister.

Kael cocked his head to the side and stared Zagan down. He just diluted the blood with water to get more? He can do that? How much water could be mixed in before it ceased to be blood? Kael hated his ignorance, because he was certain Joshua could answer all these questions with ease. “That it?” Kael said, determined not to betray his surprise.

###

Back at the heart of the city, Joshua and Gianna jogged along the sidewalk with three shady figures tailing them. They had found them right away, just like before. The probability of them having a Tracer seemed high. The woman, second in command behind Zagan, the lanky kid, and injured baldy, still unable to breathe fully from the wounds Zagan dished out days ago, followed.

“Joshua,” Gianna said, “if Emile was right and they have someone who can sense me, then shouldn’t we split up? We won’t be able to lose them otherwise.”

“I’ll see if I can’t get two of them to follow me, you can handle yourself with one, right?” he asked, genuinely concerned.

“Just go,” she spat.

With that, he peeled away and sprinted through a throng of people. When the followers came to the intersection, the woman yelled out to her companion lagging behind to follow Joshua. She and the other man continued across the street after Gianna.

With Joshua gone, Gianna now focused on a way to deal with her two assassins. She pushed through the crowd and weaved here and there formulating a plan, keeping distance where she could. Joshua and Kael wouldn’t like what I would do, she thought. So what would Joshua do? As she jostled along, an idea struck her that seemed sensible to the alternative blood bath.

She spotted a police officer sitting on a bench on the other side of the street. So she split through two cars jammed at a red light and dodged another as it threatened to run her down. Gianna ran to the bench where the officer had been sitting, but he was nowhere around. Hurriedly, she looked around as her pursuers tried to cross the street filled with now moving vehicles and angry motorists (a fair amount of that anger now directed their way). Out of the corner of her eye, Gianna spied the man she was looking for at the corner, pressing the crosswalk button over and over.

With a tap on his shoulder the husky policeman turned around.

“Excuse me,” Gianna said trying to be as polite and charming as she possibly could, her face contorted into an ugly shape.

The slack-jawed man looked at her. He had greasy brown hair and a stained police uniform, but his face retained a youthful pallor. “Can I, um, help you?”

Gianna looked back to her two followers who were holding back, hesitant on what to do. “So what is your name sir?” she said.

He looked at her not amused and pointed to his name tag which read “Patrick Gris”. “Listen kid, do you need something or can I go?” he said. “I’m on patrol.”

“Fine,” Gianna huffed, “could you point me to the police station?” He was going to be of no help.

He pointed behind them down the street. “Two blocks that way,” he said. “Big white building, not hard to find.” He turned around uninterested. “Made me miss it,” he mumbled, jamming his stubby fist into the crosswalk button over and over again.

Gianna was already off the second she got the directions.

Lofty buildings on both sides, pursuers to the back, Gianna jogged down the sidewalk looking on both sides of the street for the police station to no avail. In three blocks however, not quite like the policeman said, she saw a three-story building made of white and cracked stone nestled in between two towering steel structures. Gianna ran up the steps into the cool lobby.

Checkered tiles covered the floor matching the dirty whitewashed walls. In front, a single elderly officer in uniform with a bushy mustache sat at his desk and typed away at his computer. There were doors to either side leading to various departments and a pristine marble staircase behind the desk leading up to the second floor. There were two people talking at top of the staircase, but no one else was to be seen. The only sound to be heard was the hum of the air conditioning. She never did get what that was for. Gianna walked past the desk and looked around for more officials she could sick on her followers. This is totally going to work.

“Ahem,” the old man at the desk grunted rather loudly. Gianna looked over at him. “Can I help you in some way young lady?” he asked without taking his eyes from his work.

Gianna gulped and put on her biggest smile, looking pained through her gritted teeth. “Are there any other officers here? Perhaps some members of the S.W.A.T. team or maybe a sniper or something?” Gianna asked. “Maybe a rocket launcher under the desk?” These all seemed like questions Joshua would ask.

The old man looked up at Gianna with an inquisitive raised eyebrow. “No? You’ll for need the first or second district departments if you want. . . that.” His eyes narrowed as they studied her, darting up and down.

“Well . . . .” Gianna hummed. “Do you, perhaps, have guns here? Big ones that you could use if someone burst through that door right now?”

The man fidgeted nervously looking at the door. “Is someone about to come through that door?” His hand fell to his waist.

“Yes. Thank you?”

“What?” the officer asked.

“What?” Gianna mimicked.

“No, I asked. . .” He rolled his fingers on the desk. “Why are you smiling like that. Is this some sort of joke?”

“Police stations make people feel safe. And safety makes people happy.” She had been smiling ear to ear this entire time. She was certain she was doing this right

The desk sergeant shook his head and looked back to his computer.

Exasperated, Gianna walked back to the door and looked outside. The two assassins stood by the street with the woman watching Gianna carefully, yet unwilling to walk into the police station. The blond man with her, however, was stooping down and petting a dog that was on a walk. Gianna moved away from the door and sat down on a wooden bench.

“Ahem.”

“What could it possibly be now?” Gianna said, sounding suddenly gloomy.

“What school do you go to? You should be in class right now.” The old man at the desk eyed her over the top of his computer screen.

Spluttering a bit clearing her throat and looking around frantically, Gianna slowly answered, “I just really needed to see my dad. He. Uh. He works here.”

After greeting two policemen who had just walked down the stairs and were leaving, the man behind the desk turned back to her. “Your pap’s name? Tell me so I can call him down here.”

“Officer Gris,” Gianna spouted off saying the only name she knew. “He’s my dad.” She said squirming at the thought.

The officer looked up again and quit typing. “I didn’t know he had any children. How old are you?”

“Sixteen.”

“He’s only thirty-one,” the officer said, an eyebrow raised.

“Y. . . e. . . s,” Gianna said, giving the world twenty syllables.

The officer stared at her, longer than she liked, and then picked up the phone at his desk. “We’re going to get this sorted out,” he said.

Gianna headed back to the door and looked outside before sitting down. Her shadows stood by the light pole still, but now a slight drizzle had picked up to a full-blown rain. Neither of them looked particularly happy about the change in weather. Gianna didn’t notice them, however. Across the street, Joshua walked down the sidewalk with an unusually happy hop in his step, and she could see no one in pursuit.

#

Joshua strolled alongside the street noticing neither Gianna’s face plastered against the window nor the two Dark Element members standing outside the police station in their heavy, black robes. He moved to the far corner of the street by a department store and simply waited. He yawned and looked up and down the streets with one eye shut, enjoying the shower the weather provided, a cool, refreshing mist from the sky; it was the cleanest he had been in the better part of a week. You stop noticing the smell after being on the road for a certain amount of time.

A smile worked its way across his face as he gazed back the way he had come. Limping down the sidewalk, the fourth and final member of the enemy struggled as he moved towards Joshua. Joshua stayed still, uncaring. As the man hobbled down the street, he clutched his chest and breathed shallowly.

“Shall I call an ambulance?” Joshua taunted at the man as he came closer. “Or perhaps some psychiatric help? Your whole group could use some of that.”

“Will you quit talking; you haven’t shut up. It’s driving me insane.”

“So it is that you need some psychiatric help,” Joshua laughed, very pleased that he walked into that one.

The man got close enough to Joshua and lunged at him with arms spread wide trying to grab him. Joshua jumped backward easily dodging. The man pulled himself from the ground with some difficulty and started again towards Joshua. Joshua walked in reverse watching him.

“So how did you get hurt? You looked like you were in some pain on the train, but now you look ready to keel over at any second,” Joshua said, still walking backwards.

“That would be the Deputy. He punched me and broke a rib; I think. Back on Tyré.”

“And who in tarnation would that be?”

“Zagan,” he winced.

“Never mind. I knew that. It just occurred as I said it,” muttered Joshua as he collided with someone walking in the correct direction. They yelled at him and kept on moving. Joshua turned around and continued the conversation while walking forward. “You are on the losing side you know. You could always join us right now. I promise we won’t punch you at all, well Kael might. But still, probably won’t break a rib.

“I can’t,” the assassin responded.

“Sure you can. Kael is dealing with the big guy right now I’m guessing. You should be free to leave within the minute.”

“That would bring an unimaginable level of horror to my loved ones. The first thing, I would do, if I left, is find my old girlfriend and my child and kill them myself, so they wouldn’t have to live through what happens next.”

Joshua blinked, wide-eyed. “Holy crap dude. I’m here trying to have a whimsical treasure hunt and you go and make it dark. Way too dark. Yikes.” Joshua looked around at the tall rows of buildings on either side. “You’ll collapse from exhaustion with those injuries if I really make you chase me. It’s cruel, but it’s better than being set on fire, buried alive, or whatever. I doubt being in a crowd will stop you for much longer.”

“You don’t have to worry about that,” the man groaned. “It takes an incredible amount of concentration to do anything. I’m in too much pain for,” the man trailed off, losing the words he looked for.

“Don’t give me that crap,” Joshua said. “I know all the rules about your little powers. Better than you I’d wager. Trying to make yourself seem weak, explaining how defeated you are. I invited that move. No one throws his arms wide open and say ‘come beat me!’. So I’m going to act even safer now. Suck it.”

Winded from his lecture, Joshua took a long breath and turned. They had walked all the way to the tallest building in the city. Hazy, green-tinted glass rose literally into the clouds, low as they were on this foggy day. The black letters “L.E. Balal Tower” gleamed just above street level.

Joshua’s muddy boots squeaked on the glistening floor, as emerald green as the outside of the building. He took a second to run his fingers through the strands of his hair and tidy up his appearance as a burly security guard hustled Joshua through a metal detector. Next, Joshua hung around by the information desk to see if his tail would even dare come in. Outside, the man shed his black robes into a nearby trash can and entered the building wearing black pants and a white, long sleeve shirt. The effect of losing his clothes made him laughable, if he wasn’t already before. For a second, Joshua wasn’t sure why he was running at all-- just a skinny kid who couldn’t be much older than he was. The guard also moved him through the metal detector, and he came through clear. Joshua suspected he wouldn’t have been so clean seconds before. As soon as he was through, Joshua moved back to the elevators and looked around carefully. Elevators fine, but they weren’t what he wanted. Joshua became nervous scratching the back of his head as his eyes darted around searching for the stairs. The man from the Dark Element moved closer and closer, crouched over and gripping his chest. Joshua wasn’t at all worried about him at this point, but it paid to be prudent. As the man closed in, Joshua noticed a metal handle fastened into the granite wall, almost camouflaged. He pulled and entered the stairwell.

Bright, unearthly white lights shone from wall to wall, reflecting off equally overpowering white walls. Joshua coughed at the overpowering and intoxicating smell of new paint, as his eyes adjusted to the blinding brightness. Two at a time, his feet pounded up the stairs and clambered on to the second floor. A black door with a plaque numbered two stood stark against the blinding background, listing off so and so’s law office, some accounting firm, and some names that he couldn’t be sure what the business was. Joshua stopped reading the company names when he heard the door open below. With added gusto, Joshua charged up the stairs, stomping his feet so that his pursuer could hear how far ahead he was. Third floor, fourth floor, sixth, eighth, and at the tenth he stopped. From below, he could hear the weak patter of steps sluggishly making their way up to him. He kept moving and climbed past fifteen and then twenty. At the twentieth floor, he stopped and bent over breathing hard. His ears perked up as he wiped the sweat from his eyes with the back of his hand. The noise from below ceased. Joshua tried the door but it wouldn’t budge-- locked. Joshua kept moving at a much slower pace and tried the door on every floor after that. He came to the thirtieth floor, sweat teeming on his forehead, still unable to find an exit. Upwards and upwards, he took the stairs with diminishing fervor. He stubbornly moved on not willing to concede defeat. At the forty-seventh floor, leaning against the rails unable to catch his breath, Joshua finally halted.

“This is ridiculous,” Joshua muttered to himself. “Don’t they have these in case of fires?” He paused and wiped the stinging sweat from his eyes with his forearm. “If there isn’t an open door on the next floor, I’m heading back. Doesn’t matter who’s down there.”

Ever so slowly, Joshua climbed the next flight of stairs. Halfway up, a peculiar noise filled the air. Somewhere above, a whistled melody joined with clanging footsteps. As Joshua came to the forty-eighth floor, the song became louder and the footsteps heavier. A janitor in a blue jumpsuit trotted down the stairs. A layer of dust rested on his clothes, and a blue ball cap rested just low enough to obscure his face. There was also a faded patch on the breast of the suit which presumably would have had a name tag, but it seemed to be ripped off. He rounded the corner and kept walking, right past Joshua, not even acknowledging his existence. Right before he moved down the next flight of stairs, he stopped.

“Where are you going?” he asked as he pushed his hat further down making his face even harder to make out.

“Up,” Joshua replied.

The janitor gave a little chuckle “Okay, just be sure that you don’t enter the fifty-seventh floor. There’s some construction going on and it’s a bit dangerous.”

“Well, could you let me into any of the floors?”

“I suppose I could,” the janitor said tapering off as he patted his chest pocket. A look of dismay, he vigorously searched his entire body. “I seemed to have misplaced my keys.” His eyes bounced around the walls and floors before he looked over the railing to the pit below.

“If you are headed down, you may see some guy passed out,” Joshua said. “Could you call an ambulance for him, he’s had a pretty crappy week.”

“Sure. Sure.” The janitor dismissed Joshua, muttering something under his breath.

“For a second there,” Joshua said lightheartedly, “I thought you were that guy. Really scared me there.”

“That’s funny,” the man mused. “I just heard the same thing from somebody else.” With that, he disappeared from sight as he went down the stairs, resuming his humming, a little higher pitched than before.

Feeling rejuvenated from his rest, Joshua walked up the stairs and headed for the fifty-seventh floor. Whether it was where he should be or not was irrelevant; from the sound of things, it was one of the few doors in the building that was unlocked. As he slowly worked his way up, he said to himself, “You know, something about that janitor rubs me the wrong way.”

“I heard that!” echoed throughout the stairwell.

Joshua stopped in his tracks, surprised and confused. “Can you hear me?” Joshua spoke to the air. There was no answer. He looked over the rail and down. The man was nowhere in sight. “Guess I should be careful when I say something,” Joshua whispered barely audible.

“It may help!” came a quick response.

“Just ignore the creepy janitor Josh, he can’t really hear you,” Joshua reassured himself. He waited for another comment from the janitor below, but it never came. Could a Lightening Syche use their power to improve their hearing? They used it to improve their muscular and nervous systems, but he didn’t think so. Kael would probably know, Joshua thought, pushing the matter from his mind. Syches were just about an endangered species in the world when you laid it all out. There was no way he was just going to run into one.

After an excruciating five minutes, he finally made it to the forewarned fifty-seventh floor. “No matter how in shape you are,” he wheezed, “stairs are always a pain to climb.” Joshua grabbed the door handle and closed his eyes. With a slight wince, he pulled and found himself surprised when it opened. “Yes!” he cried as he tasted air struck his tongue that didn’t have the faint taste of paint. He stepped into a barren and expansive room. The floor, the ceiling, everything was a dull gray cement. Giant pillars lay about in a checkerboard pattern holding the roof up; they too were the same boring gray. There were no lights on, or, for that matter, installed on this musty level. The faint light that emanated through the floor came from the outside. The walls were almost entirely windowed.

Looking around, Joshua had a very hard time believing that the janitor had just been on this floor as a thick layer of dust covered everything. Paint cans were scattered around scaffolds, and glass covered the floor near the closest wall of windows. The elevator shaft was located just shy of the middle of the room, but that’s not where Joshua went. He walked over to the windows closest to him with a large cement pillar right next to it. He looked carefully at the window panel that stretched from the floor to the ceiling with a gaping hole smashed in the middle. Joshua stood there and marveled at the view. His side of the building looked out of the harbor and the sea. The horizon stretched out in front of him endlessly. Tyré was somewhere out there in that direction.

Content, Joshua started to head over to the elevator. Finally time to link back up with Kael and Gianna. As he repeatedly pushed the down button in a methodical rhythm, a faint moaning sound caught his ears. As the elevator doors opened, Joshua stood still, the hairs on the back of his neck standing up. His hand pulled into a fist and punched the button once more forcefully before he turned and headed towards the beckoning noise.

“Is anyone here?” shouted Joshua, half-hoping no one would answer. His question echoed through the empty room.

There was no answer but Joshua moved forward all the same. He strained his eyes looking around the gloomy darkness for anything he could have missed. He scrutinized his path back to the broken window. Finding nothing, he turned around with a shrug.

“How did I miss that?” he whispered disbelieving as soon as he had turned.

Right in front of him was a man sprawled on the floor and leaning against a pillar facing the window pane. Joshua crept cautiously closer to the figure on the ground His teeth clenched hard as a pool of blood blossomed into view.

“Crap on a stick,” Joshua uttered absent mindedly.

Joshua hesitated then got closer. He was close enough to distinguish some features now. The person was defiantly male and middle-aged. His face had a very chiseled look to it. Long, flowing brown hair came down to his shoulders. His eyes were closed and nothing about him seemed alive. Joshua squinted looking at his left hand hung which hung over his abdomen and the source of the bleeding.

Joshua leaned in while also trying to keep a reasonable distance and asked, “Are you all right? Strike that, obviously you’re anything but all right. Let’s try: are you alive?”

The man on the floor pulled his chin off his chest and tilted his head up. His glassy eyes opened halfway to see Joshua.

“Oh so you are alive, I was expecting you to answer ‘no’,” Joshua gave a hollow, nervous chuckle. “Sorry, I’m so much better off when it’s me who’s about to die.”

“Help me,” the man groaned, pitifully and hardly audible.

His open hand slowly extended out to Joshua, begging him to take it. On his wrist was a peculiar bracelet made of odd stones of earthen colors.

Judging by the amount of blood around him, he figured that no matter what happened at this point, the injured man would inevitably die. Perhaps out of pity, Joshua extended his hand to meet the man’s, to be one last comfort before death.

Click, metal chimed as cold steel jammed into the back of his head. Joshua recognized the feeling right away. There was a gun pressed into the back of his head, and he immediately realized who held it.

“Couldn’t mind your own business could you?” the janitor behind Joshua said. “I did warn you.”

“Don’t you have some toilets to clean?” Joshua said defiantly. The man pushed the gun forward shoving Joshua’s head down. “Alright, alright. Calm down dude. Before you kill me, please tell me you are not actually a janitor, because, taking everything into consideration, that would be a super lame way to die. I had several better options today alone.”

“I guess you could call me a janitor of sorts. But relax, you don’t have to die; however, you do have to withdraw your hand.”

Not even realizing his hand was still outstretched to the dying man, Joshua promptly returned it to his side.

“Please,” the dying man whispered.

“Are you also Dark Element?” Joshua asked, he needed more information.

“Am I what?” the man asked confused. “Oh, a Syche? No, not one of those abominations. I kill them where I find them.”

“So this man is a Syche?” Joshua asked. “And you’ll just kill him if I walk away.”

The man behind gave a little chuckle. “Is that you’re concern? Are you going to die for someone you don’t even know?”

“I’m considering it.”

“That’s suicide, not heroism. Learn the difference, because I will kill you,” the janitor said. “Maybe you’d prefer that though, to die?”

“That’s. . . a weird thing to say.”

“It’s true though,” the man said. “That’s who you really are. Not Joshua Rasgard. Not that series of lies that keeps you sane. Just because it’s been seven years, doesn’t mean you aren’t a murderer anymore.”

Joshua’s face skewed in confusion. “That is, that is, that. . . .” Joshua’s mind blanked.

“I have plenty of reason to kill you, but I’m going to let you go. Just walk away. This doesn’t need involve you.”

Heart pumping, breath quickening, Joshua’s flinch clenched and jaw tightened as his breathing became audible. What is happening? Who is this man? Who is the dying guy? How does he know? What is happening! His brain was screaming every possible thought at once. One at a time he tried to push them away. He needed a plan, not panic. “You’ll need to kill me before anyone else dies,” his mouth blurted out, and he agreed with it.

###

Back in the abandoned warehouse, Kael and Zagan’s chests heaved and sweat rolled down their foreheads as they both stared at each other with the vagueness that comes with total exhaustion. The entire floor was soaked in murky water, and the walls were charred black. Kael stood on a walkway on the second floor with plenty disintegrated to ash at this point. Blood trickled down Kael’s right arm, and the rest of him was just as ragged. Portions of Zagan’s body showed burns from the fight as well. Kael never landed a direct hit, but explosions burned easily enough at close distances. It was the bloody water. It didn’t just give him more blood to work with; it hid his attacks and damped any combustion taking place through the concrete floor. Water couldn’t be combusted. At least Kael couldn’t do it.

Trying to catch Kael off guard, he shot a pressurized rip of blood at him ripping through the platform and the wall. Kael jumped up with an explosion and slipped through a hole in the ceiling. It was time to bring the entire building down. Zagan was essentially in a box, and Kael was about to find out how much of that box he could imbue with Sychakenetic energy.

He shoved his hands onto the cold metal roof and felt every ounce of energy drain away. His core felt hollow and cold, his mind thin and dark. He gritted his teeth and prepared to ignite the entire building when something caught his eye. He peered left to the harbor and hollowly said, “oh”.

###

At the same time, Gianna was still in the police station. She sat on the bench as Officer Gris came in. He didn’t take any notice of Gianna and walked over to the old man at the desk. Gianna looked outside; the two Element members still hadn’t left their post. Back at the desk, the two officers talked animatedly as the older of the two pointed over to Gianna. Officer Gris had a dumbfounded look on his face. He ambled over to Gianna.

“So um, you think you’re my daughter,” the policeman Gris said to her. Gianna nodded. “And your mother is?”

Screams from the street interrupted Gianna before she could build her lie any taller. Both she and the officer ran to the door to see what all the ruckus was about. Everyone on the street was running in one direction. She looked farther down the street in the direction everyone fled and caught a glimpse of the two hitmen turning tail and running as well. She then looked to the right and saw it, what everyone was running away from.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” she said with no small annoyance.

###

Back on the fifty-seventh floor, Joshua still stood with a gun to his head. Everything stood still-- stuck in a moment in time.

“I’m sure your brother will hate you for it, but you made your choice.” The man with the gun took a deep breath. “Goodbye.”

Joshua’s mind was blank, his feet frozen in terror. He had no plan, no way save himself. Thoughts and instincts were barred from his brain, so he closed his eyes and smiled.

“Ah!” Joshua screamed as the clicking of shoes behind sped off in the opposite direction. Joshua spun on the spot to see the janitor sprinting across the room for the stairs. Numb he turned back around, yet to comprehending anything that transpired.

“I see,” he said marveling at what he saw, a terrible feeling in the pit of his stomach.

Cutting across the sea at a breakneck pace was a massive wall of water. It stretched as far as the eye could see in both directions along the coast and towered in the sky. From where Joshua stood on the fifty-seventh floor, he wasn’t even close to the top of the wave. It ripped through the sea and smashed into the bay.

Right before the wave impacted the building, Joshua turned towards the dying man with his arm limp but still extended towards him. “Can’t be any worse,” Joshua shrugged, extending his hand to the man.

Everything went black in a swirl of sound and movement. He felt the strangest sensations and then passed out entirely.

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