This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
The voice shot through the air like a bullet, ringing in my ears, and I winced. He was close. Too close.
“Not today, suckers!” I yelled, worn-out sneakers slapping the pavement. But it was a bluff. I was completely exhausted, and we both knew it. I didn’t know how long I could hold them back.
“You’ll never get to Blue, boy. I’ll never let you!” Argot screamed. “So why prolong your death?!”
“Sorry, I dunno what the heck ‘never’ means!”I swerved around a corner, weaving my way around the paths and trees of Greene Wood. Just a little more. Only half a mile left until I could find Blue.
My breath was ragged, and when I glanced back, I caught a flash of black cape as Argot teleported next to me, swinging a thin blade that would’ve slammed at full force into my face if I hadn’t ducked as fast as humanely possible at the very last second. I hit the ground and rolled, then heard a clicking sound as his companion’s missiles targeted me. I was exhausted beyond belief, but I was up and running the second the sound reached my ears, mostly because a full-body tackle from a flaming hunk of metal would probably hurt a lot more than my aching legs did at the second.This situation was ridiculous. How hard could it be to lose an old man and an idiot wearing a ton of metal, anyway?!
I slid under a huge tree root that arched upward, suddenly noticing how many of these trees there were. Greene Wood was beautiful this time of year, with its crazy amount of plants and animals, but the only thing I felt toward the ridiculous number of trees was annoyance. I would’ve made it to Sapphire City half an hour ago if it weren’t for them getting in my way every two seconds.
I passed by a street sign, taking my eyes off the road for just a moment to read it. Apparently, I was on Apple Street.
Good. According to the map I’d had to memorize back in Rogue City, I was almost to the border, and safety. There was no way they could find me in Sapphire City; the place was beyond gigantic. Not in a million years.
But how was I supposed to reach it without dying or getting caught first?
I was out of firepower; I’d used too much already. It would regenerate in an hour, but I didn’t have that long. I wasn’t even sure I had five minutes.“Gas, gas, gas…” I muttered, searching the half-forest-half-village for any sign of oil or gas. There was none. Greene Wood people were a little too crazy about protecting the environment. Not that I didn’t like being green and all, but hello, my life was on the line here! Wasn’t there just one freaking canister?!
"Give it up, boy!” Argot, the man in the black cape, cackled. “You won’t find any fuel here! Unless, of course, you burn the trees – but you wouldn’t dare!”That one almost made me snap. He was handing me a direct challenge on a platter, something he knew was almost impossible for me to resist. But he was right. I wouldn’t burn down any of the trees in Greene Wood, not now, not ever. If I set one alight, the whole place would go down, and the people with it. I couldn’t do that.
I found myself wishing that the mysterious Blue would somehow just appear in Greene Wood instead of Sapphire City and save my freaking bacon already. I immediately scolded myself for that.
You’re Red, you idiot! You’ve gotten out of way stickier situations than this one! Get your stupid act together!
“No gas. No wood. Heck, I probably can’t even use fire, because I might burn down the whole place. What am I supposed to do?!”
I tallied up my options. One, somehow keep running until I reached Sapphire City. (Highly unlikely.) Two, give up and surrender to Argot and his minion. (Uh, like, flipping no.) Three, risk burning down the whole forest. (Last resort.) Four, frontal assault. (I couldn’t fight with my power level down like this.) So that left one option.
Bluff my way out of this mess.
Argot!” I skidded to a halt, and my knees almost gave out. “I give up. I
came to a standstill.
Argot and his buddy just stared at me like I had two heads.
“It’s a trap,” Iron Man Wannabe concluded, and I almost facepalmed. Yeah, General Akbar, it’s a trap!
“What are you playing at, boy?” Argot demanded, and I shrugged, secretly mustering up every last bit of my power and pulling a trap that I didn’t like, since it took me at least two minutes to activate. Two minutes too long, in my opinion.
“Nothing. I’m serious. I surrender.”
“Do you honestly expect us to believe that? What’s to stop me from ripping your face off, right now?” Iron Man Wannabe snapped.
“What, you tired of yours? I can see why, dude, it looks like a horse’s b – “
Iron Man Wannabe lunged, and I dodged. His fist missed me by about two inches.
“Calm down, Kyore!” Argot hissed. “He’s taunting you!”
“Ah, so that’s your name. It has more letters than I thought it’d have, though. I didn’t know you could spell that far!”
Kyore was probably scowling, but I couldn’t tell, seeing as he had a helmet on. He wouldn’t for long, though. I was gonna blow his head off.
I felt my pocket for my sunglasses. Good. Still there. Sometimes, I forgot they were on, and in an occasion like this, I needed them off. This was crucial. With them on, I couldn’t set my trap, and let’s be honest here, without my trap, I’m screwed.
“What are you trying to do?” Argot demanded. “First, you tell us that you surrender, and now you act like you want a fight. What will it be? Fight, or surrender?”
“You know what, I think I’ll fight. But you’d better leave Keeree over there out; he’d run crying to his momma in two seconds!”
Iron Man Wannabe tried, he really did. I could tell. But the temptation of punching my face in won over following orders. With a huge roar, he lunged. I sidestepped the attack, but as he passed by, I inserted a secret little package into the hole I’d melted in his armor with my eyes. (Now you see why I couldn’t be wearing sunglasses?) He was so angry, he didn’t even notice.
“My name,” he seethed, hands balled into fists, “Is Kyore, brat!”
“Cool,” I said cheerily. “Mine’s Red.”
And then I blew up the explosives in his armor.
The explosion wasn’t very big, and I knew that with the technology the enemy had, he’d be patched up in no time. But it gave me a distraction, which was the only thing I really needed. So, after I absorbed most of the flames so that the fire wouldn’t spread too far and made sure they were both knocked out, I knew it was time to go.
“Well, then, fellows, fun playing with you, but I’ve gotta go find Blue now.” I mock-saluted. “Seeya again sometime.”
As I walked off, hands in my pockets, I couldn’t keep the big, goofy grin off my face.
Red, two, Argot, zero.
Mark-Mikkel: Got directed here by the author herself. Started reading it, schoolday turned into a day of reading. I really like the apocaliptic world she has created. There are some oddities in the writing tho, but I guess they are because she did have to do it for NaNo (which she wrecked, good job!). In the ...
DennisT: This is an excellent story by an author who writes very well. the only problem areas that I see relate to proofreading and editing. All of the stories by Vanessa are excellent, and I have read them all more than once. I had hoped that they would be better edited and proofread on this site, but it...
themyronus: Vanessa has made 'amazing' the norme. I didn't want to read this as I am waiting for the finished and polished book to come out. But then I decided to read one chapter for kicks...well hours later I finished what was posted. Fortunately, my memory is not to good and I hope I will read the book wi...
cassandrab: Delightful SciFi (for a change)! I am not a SciFi fan: mostly the genre is far too dystopic for me. This book (written by a high-school friend) is, on the other hand, generally upbeat. Yes, Earth's future is threatened. But Earth has a chance to plan a response. And (spoiler alert) ultimately win...
Schaelz: I was intrigued from the second I started reading, and it kept my interest the whole way through. Chelsea has a way with words that will enchant you until the very end. She is very poetic with the way she mixes genres and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The main character is also very relat...
FateFellShort: I have read this story and have followed the writers on tumblr from the beginning. Its a wonderful story. Beautifully written with a really nice pace, that makes it enjoyable to read more than once. For me, fairy tail has very good characters but what the writers have done is give them more depth...
dragonswilleise: I loved this book, it was nearly impossible to put down from start to finish. It was fast passed without being overwhelming and slowed down where needed. Overall this was an amazing novel that I will definitely recommend to others.
tyleroakleyfan: thank you for writing this story I loved it. it was great I enjoyed every minute of it I couldn't stop reading you did a fantastic job. Thanks for killing ron he was starting to piss me off. he was being a dick. I love that you made it a gay love story its about time someone did. love it great job.
Jasmine Chow: As I read this story, I was reminded some what of Terry Pratchett, especially some descriptions of politics and economics. The sci-fic setting is quite intriguing. Writing style is quite lovely and grew on me slowly. I was also slightly reminded of Mark Twain, especially his book A Connecticut Ya...
Leah Brown: This was an amazing read! I was hooked from the very first chapter, holding my breadth to see what would happen next. The characters are rich and vibrant, and the world Danielle has created is fascinating. If you love YA, you MUST read this book. Such a smart, brilliant debut novel. I loved it!
FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."