Authors: Lucas Flint
Tags: #young adult, #superheroes
Dad just shook his head. “Will you be able to get us up into the air again?”
“But of course,” said Mimic, turning his attention back to the controls. “It may take us a few minutes, however, so I suggest that you get back into your seat and relax until I can get the engines up and running again.”
Just as Mimic said that, a loud
—like someone had dropped a heavy rock—could be heard from the ceiling above us. Mom, Dad, and I all looked up at the ceiling apprehensively.
“What was that?” said Mom. “More wind?”
“Eh, probably,” said Mimic, though I noticed he looked nervous and was sweating now. “You know how wind can sound so very strange sometimes, especially out in the ocean.”
Then there was a loud
and a dent appeared in the ceiling, a dent that looked kind of like a fist.
“That's some tough wind,” said Dad sarcastically.
Mimic flushed and looked like he was about to argue with Dad, but then a panel in the ceiling was knocked straight in. It landed on the floor with a crash, leaving a hole in the ceiling. Through the hole in the ceiling, I could hear the howling wind that sounded just like a tornado, but I stopped focusing on that as soon as two people fell through the hole and landed on the floor.
They were a man and a woman and, based on their costumes, appeared to be superhumans. The man was large and fat, with fists that looked like bricks, and he wore a wrestling mask that resembled a hyena's face. He also smelled awful, like he had never taken a shower in his life, though that didn't detract from his obvious physical strength.
As for the woman, she was taller and thinner than her husband, but just as ugly as him, if not more so. She looked almost like a stereotypical witch, complete with robes and hat, which reminded me of Incantation, although I noticed that this woman's robes were a lot looser than Incantation's, like they were designed for flying or something.
“Here we are,” said the woman, her voice screechy and high-pitched. She cackled. “Just as that boy said, Genius and his family are here. And some ugly freak, too.”
“Good,” said the man. He put a hand on his stomach and made a face. “I hate the ocean. Let's finish this quick so we can go back to land.”
“Who are you guys?” I said, staring at them in confusion. “And what do you mean 'just as that boy said'? Which boy are you talking about?”
“Robert Candle, of course,” said the woman. She smirked. “But I believe you already know him, don't you, Bolt?”
My heart fell into my stomach, but I didn't let my fear paralyze me. I undid my straps and jumped off my chair, but Dad held a hand in front of me and said, “Wait. You can't fight them, not without your powers.”
“Your dad is pretty smart, kid,” said the large man. He punched his fist into his hand and grinned. “Too bad you're gonna get dead anyway.”
I felt embarrassed at my own forgetfulness, but I said to the man and woman anyway, “Are you two working for Robert?”
“Working for a kid? Never,” said the man, waving off the idea like it was the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard in his life. “We only work for adults. Kids never have the money to afford our fees, anyway.”
“We're working for Thaumaturge,” said the woman. She looked at Dad. “He told me to tell you that you can still join Vision, if you want.”
Dad stiffened. I understood why. Thaumaturge—who was also the master and uncle of Incantation—had been a friend of Dad's before we found out that he was a member of Vision. As far as I knew, Dad hadn't spoken with Thaumaturge at all since the day Thaumaturge disappeared with the last incarnation of the Young Neos, so if this woman was telling the truth, then she was still in contact with him.
“Thaumaturge hired you two to kill me?” said Dad. “And my family?”
“If you resist,” said the woman. “But if you accept his offer, we're supposed to spare you and then take your son to him. We'll also spare your wife, though I can't guarantee the life of your pilot.”
“The answer is no,” said Dad. “I don't want anything to do with Vision. And just who are you people anyway?”
“I am Tornadess,” said the woman with a curtsy. “And this man is my husband and business partner, Ring Out.”
“We're mercenaries,” said Ring Out. “We'll take out anyone and do anything as long as the price is right.”
“Then I take it that you are not Visionists,” said Dad.
“We don't care about that stuff,” said Ring Out with a shrug. “We don't worship no 'Vision' or 'Visionary.' The only gods we worship are Washington, Lincoln, and Hamilton; and unlike most gods, they can pay our bills.”
“What kind of powers do you have?” said Dad.
“I can control the weather,” said Tornadess. “Ring Out, meanwhile, has super strength, but that should be more than sufficient for killing everyone in this ship, except for the kid, of course.”
Tornadess nodded at me when she said that, causing me to say, “Why are you going to spare me?”
“Orders from our client,” said Ring Out. “Told us to take you to him alive.” Then he flexed his muscles. “Didn't say all of your bones had to be in tact, however.”
That puzzled me at first until I realized that it made perfect sense why Thaumaturge—and, through him, Robert—wanted me alive: Robert wanted to kill me himself. I doubt Robert would ever tolerate anyone else killing me, though that was hardly a comforting thought.
“But we really don't need to fight,” said Tornadess. She held out a hand. “If you would just give us Bolt, we would be more than happy to trap you in this ship and sink it to the bottom of the ocean with you three still inside it.”
?” said Mimic. He stood up from his seat and drew a gun from his side. “Never!”
Mimic pulled the trigger, shooting a bullet at Tornadess and Ring Out. But the sound of the bullet being fired was deafening inside the enclosed space, making me slam my hands over my ears, while Dad—who had been standing between Mimic and the two mercenaries—held up a hand and summoned a barrier from his gauntlet I'd never seen before.
The bullet bounced off the barrier and ricocheted off the walls, making more noise, but it didn't hit anyone. Dad, however, sounded very angry when he lowered his hand and snapped at Mimic, “Mimic! Watch where you're shooting. Whose side are you on anyway?”
Mimic looked flustered by Dad's anger, but Ring Out said, “Who cares? It's pretty damn obvious at this point that you won't be coming peacefully. Get ready to rumble!”
Ring Out launched himself through the air toward us. Dad, however, raised his gauntlets and unleashed a brief burst of electricity that hit Ring Out dead on.
But instead of getting knocked out of the air, Ring Out just landed on the floor and punched Dad. Or tried to; Dad quickly teleported out of Ring Out's reach, causing Ring Out to lose his balance and fall flat on his face.
“Ungf!” said Ring Out. He pushed himself up and shook his head. “Stop moving and let me punch you.”
“No,” said Dad. He pointed his gauntlet at Ring Out. “I think it's time you took a nap.”
But before Dad could shoot a laser at Ring Out, a powerful blast of wind suddenly came out of nowhere and struck Dad. It sent him flying and he crashed onto the floor, rolling until he hit the back of the passenger seat next to Mimic, who was now cowering behind the pilot's seat like he was trying to avoid being seen by the mercenaries.
“Dad!” I shouted. “Are you okay?”
Dad groaned and sat up, shaking his head. “Yes, but get your mother to safety. There's an escape pod on the left side you can hide in until we beat them. In the meantime, I'll deal with these two.”
I was about to offer to help before I remembered that I was powerless, so I just nodded and helped Mom out of her seat. We made our way around the seats, heading for a door that was marked 'ESCAPE,' but then I heard Tornadess shout, “Oh, no, you don't!”
I looked over my shoulder in time to see Tornadess aiming her hands at me and Mom, but then Dad fired what looked like two small disks out of his gauntlets. The disks struck Tornadess's hands, causing her to jerk her hands back to her chest as they bled.
“Ow!” said Tornadess. She glared at Ring Out. “Why are you still on the floor? Get that brat's dad while I go after the kid himself.”
Ring Out nodded, rose to his feet, and ran toward Dad again. But Mimic aimed his gun and fired again, forcing Ring Out to duck to avoid getting shot.
I turned away from the fight and brought Mom—who seemed to have become petrified with silence—over to the door labeled ESCAPE. I pulled the door open, but before I got inside, Tornadess flew over to us, lightning crackling between her fingers.
“I've got you now!” Tornadess yelled in a mad, gleeful voice. “Die!”
Tornadess shot lightning bolts at us. I shoved Mom to the side and dropped to the floor myself as the lightning bolts struck the door. The sound of the lightning bolts impacting the door was deafening inside the space of the
, briefly leaving me unable to hear anything.
But I could see Tornadess, who landed on the ground in front of me. She pointed at me and said something, but I was still deafened by the lightning bolt, so I couldn't hear her.
Then Tornadess pulled out what looked like a pair of handcuffs from her robes, which I figured she was going to use to get me. She approached me with an evil grin on her old lips, but I wasn't going to go quietly.
I stood up and ran at her. I couldn't go as fast as I could, but she still looked surprised at my action, as if she had not been expecting me to do this.
But then Tornadess waved her hand and electricity shot out of it at me. I couldn't dodge it in time, so I took the brunt of the blast, which knocked me to my hands and knees.
“Stay down, boy,” said Tornadess, cackling as she stood above me. She raised the shackles above her head. “I know you don't have your powers anymore, so you will never be able to beat me in a fight. Just sit still while I put these cuffs on you and take you away to our employer, who will pay us quite handsomely for catching you so quickly.”
I wanted to get up and fight her, but the electricity left me paralyzed. My costume had absorbed the worst of it, which was why I was still conscious, but I couldn't get away from her as she bent over to put the handcuffs on my wrists.
But then, out of nowhere, Mom appeared and swung her purse at Tornadess's head. Tornadess had only enough time to look at Mom's purse before it struck her in the face. The blow sent Tornadess falling over onto her back, stunned as she dropped the handcuffs, which rolled away out of her reach. But then Mom grabbed the cuffs, put them on Tornadess, and stood up and looked over at me with concern in her eyes.
“Mom?” I said, looking up at her in surprise.
“Kevin, are you okay?” said Mom. Her hair was messier than normal and she was panting hard, probably because she was never involved in any of this superhero stuff and wasn’t used to this kind of physical exertion. “Can you still walk?”
“I … I think so,” I said. “But I can't get up on my own.”
“Okay,” said Mom. “Let me help you up, sweetie.”
Mom grabbed my arm and helped me back up to my feet. Then we turned around and made our way to the ESCAPE door, which was blackened from where the lightning bolt had hit it, but apparently still in one piece, which was either a testament to the strength of Pokacu metal or was proof of Tornadess's own weakness.
Regardless, we were just about to enter it when I heard a loud yell and looked over toward the controls to see Dad and Mimic fighting Ring Out. Ring Out had somehow managed to uproot one of the seats and was swinging it around like a giant club, but Dad and Mimic were both doing a good job avoiding it. Dad kept trying to aim at and shoot Ring Out with electricity from his gauntlets, but he had to keep moving to avoid Ring Out's weapon.
I was tempted to go and try to help, but I realized that I was still in no position to actually help Dad. My body was recovering from its earlier paralysis, but even if I hadn't been shocked by Tornadess, I'd still be too weak to fight someone like Ring Out.
So I grabbed the handle on the door and pulled the door open wide enough for Mom to go into the escape pod on the inside. I was about to enter after her when I heard Tornadess shout behind me.
I looked over my shoulder to see that Tornadess was standing up again, only this time she wasn't aiming her hands at me. She was raising them above her head, which I didn't understand until I noticed the wind picking up and a dark cloud starting to form near the ceiling. The loud rumbling of thunder from within the cloud told me that something bad was about to happen, especially when the lightning flashed across the dark clouds.
“You won't get away that easily, boy,” said Tornadess. Her voice sounded screechier in the wind, like she was having to raise her voice to be heard. “We are going to end this conflict here and now and take you in and get paid, just like we were hired. No more wasting time!”
I was going to make some kind of snappy remark and then run over and punch her, but Mom grabbed my arm and shouted, “Kevin, come on! You can't fight her. We have to get into the escape pod
“And leave Dad behind?” I said, looking over my shoulder at Mom in surprise. “But—”
I was interrupted by a sudden downpour of rain, which came down in droves. It happened so suddenly that I was unable to stop Mom from jerking me inside the pod and slamming the door shut behind us just as the rain started getting really bad. But the escape pod's door, at least, was waterproof, because none of the water got through it, though I could see the rain pouring in there like crazy.
“Dad!” I shouted. I ran up to the window and pressed my face against it, but the rain on the other side was so thick that I couldn't see anything. “Dad!”
All of a sudden, Tornadess's ugly face appeared smashed against the glass of the window, snarling and scowling. Surprised, I staggered backwards and fell onto the floor on my bottom, while Tornadess continued to glare at me and shout at me, but I couldn't hear what she was saying due to the volume of the rain on the other side.
But I did notice that the door handle was jiggering, which meant that Tornadess was trying to get inside. And a quick glance around the pod told me that Mom and I had nowhere else to run if Tornadess got in here.