“My name is Jacques Bryant III, and I am a king.”
The air reeked of destruction. With a groan the black adolescent forced himself up; his body scolded him for trying to move. He turned his head to the sides to look around. His black hood was down against his back; beneath the hoodie’s bottom he wore only a pair of boxers that had fresh bloodstains. Adrenaline roared through his blood, arms and legs shaking as he stood up among the ruins. His muscles ached and screamed at him, but his head hurt even more. Had he been drinking? He felt like it.
In front of him, the earth itself had fallen apart; he stood in the remains of what had been a hotel, the majority of it had to be somewhere down that pit, but he couldn’t see to the bottom. Water gushed out of busted water pipes and into the pit that gaped open in front of him, steam and smoke rising from wherever its bottom was. As far as he could see there was nothing but an enormous sinkhole, stretching out to the horizon. The strong odor of gasoline, the metallic stench of fresh blood, and a fine mist of ash all filled the air. It was a nauseating combination.
“What the hell happened?” he asked, trying to comprehend the spread of devastation before him. But no one answered his question; there were only cries of grief and the wail of sirens in the distance. He pushed his mind to think back to the night before, despite the throbbing headache. He remembered that he had been in a hotel room with some bitch he had picked up off the streets, but she wasn’t here. He mentally swore at her for ditching him; he had been looking forward to some special treatment in the morning. Not that he found himself needing or wanting that now, though. It was the principle of the matter.
He decided at last to investigate the damage further, hoping for some clues. He approached the hole in side of the building, and looked back and forth to see that it stretched out as far as he could see in both directions. He realized now that had he been just another two feet towards the wall, he wouldn’t have survived. He looked out at the fires down below in the collapsed area, and watched as red and blue sirens began to shine through the clouded air.
His mouth was as a desert. Ash and smoke coated the inside of it in a fine film. He tried to spit, to get that taste out, but there was nothing to spit.
The night continued on in silence as the nonchalant stars stared down at the destruction that surrounded him. He paced in thought, trying to figure out what his next course of action should be. He had little familiarity with this city. Where the young man would go he didn’t know. And further he had no idea what had happened to cause this sinkhole; was it safe to go anywhere?
While he thought over what he should do, he saw his knife on the floor and grabbed it. He suspected that it would come in handy, given the situation. Shortly after he picked up his jeans from the floor, and got dressed as he mulled over a plan. He’d find a way out of here, figure out a way to get as far away from this sinkhole as possible. Without a doubt, looting would start to go down any time now. And when that started, he’d much rather not be around.
A glance outside revealed to him a shooting star that seemed to be falling in his direction. A smirk came across his face as he thought that he should make a wish on it. He couldn’t help but laugh at the thought, and muttered to himself, “It’s a bit too late to wish for some help now, I don’t need it anyways.”
He grabbed his wallet and the key card for the hotel room – just in case he would need it. He had no reason to suspect that he would, but it felt wrong to leave it all the same. He shook his head and left. The door opened with ease when the young man threw it aside and he lunged into the hallway. Blood streaks stained the walls, still fresh from their donors. Various personal belongings, abandoned by their owners, littered the hallway.
There was the sound of footsteps behind him and in a flash he turned around. Standing before him now was a tall figure, head tilted to the side to avoid hitting the ceiling. Black wisps of smoke wafted from his body and swirled in the air. Two glimmering red eyes shone from the too-perfectly shaped head. But other than that the young man could not tell apart any facial features.
“Who the fuck are you?”
The dark smoke around the man dissipated into the air. A grin spread across his impossibly dark face, revealing a set of pearly teeth. “I am Abaddon, Jacques Bryant, Third of your name.”
“How the hell did you know my name?” Jacques snapped. He stepped forward as he pointed his knife at the gigantic man standing before him, a scowl across his face. “And what the hell happened out here?”
“I am what you would call, ah... a guardian angel? Yes, that seems appropriate.” Abaddon’s smile spread too wide for his face’s size. A shiver went down Jacques’ spine. “Open your hand, and picture flames coming from it.” Abaddon’s voice boomed with authority, deeper than a man’s could ever reach. It was a voice of absolutes.
Jacques felt compelled to do as Abaddon ordered, as strange as it seemed; and as unused to taking orders as he was. He put his empty hand out and opened the palm wide. He let the image of flames emerging from it fill his mind. A tingle of heat spread within his body, and closed his eyes for a moment.
When he opened them a burst of fire erupt from his palms and towards the stranger. He yelled out in shock, and swung his hand to the side and shouted, “Holy shit, I’m on fire!”
Abaddon laughed and stepped forward. He crouched so that his head was closer to Jacques’ face, and when he spoke the smell of smoke came from his lips. “You can control fire. In exchange for that gift, I will feed on your emotion – you will not feel this by any means, but it is important you know so that you can trust me. Further, it will allow”
Jacques paused for some time, thoughts racing through his head – who was this man, what was his deal? How the hell was he so tall, and how did he make that fire? Had it really been Jacques that made it, like Abaddon had said, or just a trick?
Jacques shook his head and pushed out his questions for the time being. He willed flames from his finger tips again, and smiled when the flickering flame sprouted. It looked like his pointer finger was a candle’s wick up until he blew it out with a satisfied smirk.
“So... I really do control fire.”
“Indeed you do.”
“Tell me, Abaddon – what the flying fuck happened out here?”
Abaddon shrugged just enough for Jacques to notice. “I am not sure. It seems a great mass of Earth collapsed on itself, and part of this building was in the way of the sinkhole that resulted. The blood here is probably from injuries during said event.”
Jacques nodded, and looked around. “So... I should probably figure out a way out of here. Do you know what it’s like outside?”
Jacques laughed and gripped his knife tighter. He felt raw hea radiate through his body. “Then I’ll have to burn my own way out,” he said with a smile. Flames crawled from his hand and wrapped around his knife, and he began to walk down the hallway. “Oh, it’s been a while since I got to have some danger – was getting just a little bit too comfortable, you know?”
“I’m afraid I do not.”
“Of course you don’t,” Jacques said with a shrug.
“Don’t let that stop you from having fun, though.”
“I won’t, trust me.”
It was a good day to be Jacques.tart writing here…