Glitches Free Online Serial Novel


Chapter 12

The blast was deafening and was the harbinger of death, the voice of the grim reaper himself. It screamed its way across the quad and then reverberated back through the space for another pass for good measure. Derek was the least scathed member of the group. The blast had actually woken him from the pile driving he took into the earth a few moments before. Beatrice was a crushed soul, broken by the earth and completely oblivious to the reign of terror going on around her.

Yolanda was instantly t-boned by the blast sending her directly into a tree that was uprooted by her momentum. Sumner wasn’t in much better shape. But the blast it him square in the chest. The air curled beneath him as he flew and then crashed hard into the street a hundred feet behind him.

Ben was nowhere to be seen.

Immediately following the blast Cat hollered down into the quad. “Ben!? Yolanda!?” And then she jumped from her rooftop vantage and began running as she hit the street. The only thing going through her mind was to get the team out of here as fast as physically possible. If anyone was alive that is. She’d never seen anything like it before and she had overseen hundreds and hundreds of practice sessions. That was her job after all.

Cat sprinted through the carnage and the mayhem as quickly as she could, vaulting cars and trees alternately. When she arrived at ground zero there was a smooth milk dish of a crater over 100 feet in diameter. Ben was nowhere to be seen. Had he incinerated himself? He was standing directly over the blast when it went off after all.

Was that coughing she thought to herself. Where did that come from? She tentatively felt out into the darkness around her searching for life. And there was Derek teetering to his feet. Sure enough, there he was coughing out dirt and debris.

“Derek? Are you ok? Where is everyone else?” The moment she spoke the words she knew that he wouldn’t be any help to her. He’d just had a truck back over his head. She quickly ran over to him and looked up into his eyes. His pupils were dilated, but he was responding to her voice. Then he noticed Beatrice lying cratered in the dirt. “Oh my…” and she stopped there. She quickly dove to the ground and checked for a pulse. Nothing… no wait. There was something there. It wasn’t regular whatever it was. But it was there. Slow and shallow.

Where was everyone else? Out of the corner of her eye she saw Sumner’s impact crater over in the street. ‘Oh my’ she thought. This was bad. And there tangled amongst the ruins of a gnarled tree she saw an arm stuck in the air between the branches. Was that Yolanda? Cat was overwhelmed and beginning to have a hard time knowing what to do first. She needed to help her friends survive this carnage. But she also knew they had to get out of here as soon as physically possible. She sensed several ambulances were coming already. And a whole swath of police officers would be right behind them. She saw this as clearly as she saw the carnage all around her.

And so Cat began to make decisions, quick ones, and she began to watch as her decisions changed the vision in front of her eyes. ‘Quickly!’ she urged herself. And then at the last second her eyes brightened on a single winding path through the incoming chaos. “Got it.” She said. And then she fainted. Derek had been watching her closely knowing full well that Cat was finding them a way out. And even before she dropped he had scooped the little girls frame up and waited. When Cat’s eyes fluttered back open she said, “That was too close.”

“You ok now?” Derek asked, a concerned look on his face.

“Yeah. Pushed it farther than I should have. But we don’t have a whole lot of options. Listen carefully. We want the second ambulance. Not the first. Go around to the passenger side. Let’s get them over into those bushes there. Wait for my lead before we hit the paramedic.” And then finally she chimed in, “And I’ll drive.” Derek nodded at this. He’d seen Cat work her magic more than once. In a thin stream the young girl could see a version of the future. The generally most inevitable line of the future. She wasn’t 100% but he knew better than to go against her visions. The only trouble was that it was very limited – she may get a single minute vision of options after storing energy for over a month or two. And it was also devastating to her physically if she rode it too far.

Cat ran over to Sumner in the road as Derek began collecting the girls. She checked his pulse. Steady. Solid. He’d be just fine. Though he was going to have a heck of a hangover in the morning. Derek must have been feeling better because he was sprinting across the quad using his juggernaut infused legs. “How is he? Will he be ok?”

“Yeah, he’ll be ok. If we get him out of here that is.” Derek nodded at this and then allowed himself a chuckle at the situation they were in. Then Cat chimed in to Derek’s silent musings, “I agree. This is amazing. I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

Derek laughed out loud at that as he picked Sumner up. Then as they began jogging over to the bushes together he asked the one question Cat couldn’t have anticipated no matter how many times she sliced into the future. “Is Ben dead? I don’t feel him anywhere.” Derek had had a special sort of connection to Ben that rivaled even love as a connection.

In the Alchemical world jealously was a fire that burnt through obstacles and even extreme distances giving even the least enabled Emp extreme powers of perception. Cat figured if Derek couldn’t see him she didn’t stand a chance. But as the duo stopped to wait for the arrival of the paramedics Cat scanned the horizon anyway for any sort of Emp footprint at all. Nothing. Pitch as the darkness surrounding them. “No idea. I don’t sense him anywhere either.”

And then, just as Cat had foreseen it, two ambulances came blazing onto the scene with their sirens blaring. The first one pulled up at the curb immediately in front of them. Derek raised his eyebrows at this. ‘Not this one?’ he asked with a raise of an eyebrow. Cat just shook her head firmly. The second one stopped across the street facing the other direction. The driver and his EMT hopped out and opened up the back doors and ran off into the darkness responding to a specific address call in further into the blast zone. Derek’s eyebrows went up at that.

“Wait.” Cat answered as Derek tensed to go. Then the driver in front of them revved his engine and sped off in response to some call over the radio. And then, just like that, the path was perfectly clear. Derek shook his head at that. ‘Just amazing’ he thought. It never ceased to amaze him when this little girl pulled out all the stops. And boy did they need her tonight. Derek carried Yolanda and Beatrice in each arm and gently placed them in the back of the paramedic. A second later he had Sumner in his arms and was yelling for Cat to hit it as he jumped in.

Cat really didn’t know where they were going to go. This was as far as she had seen into the future. She knew that the path out of the quad would be clear and they would make it out of the incoming net the authorities would soon be setting up. But beyond that she had no practical ideas as to where they aught to hole up and recover. There was no way she could take them to the council. That would be a death sentence. And she couldn’t very well take them to one of their houses. That would be the first place the police would look once they got their act together.

And then a voice from the back said, “Go to the chalet.” It was Yolanda. Derek was at her side in a second and she give him a rueful smile. And then she closed her eyes again. “Thanks Cat – Derek. I’m sorry…” Derek quieted her and quietly whispered for her to rest.

The Chalet was the perfect place to hide. It wasn’t Yolanda’s family’s property but that was merely a technicality. Auntie’s favorite “Beaux” owned the place and gave her family unfettered access as a basecamp for skiing. The house sat nestled in the woods of the mountains located just off the slopes of the Silverton Ski area. It was about an hour north from there current location and would give them just enough distance from the epicenter of the blast to stay under the radar. It was exactly the place they needed right now until this storm blew over.

Three days later Derek was more than a little worried at Beatrice’s nonresponsive state. He had been giving her ice chips around the clock since the moment the arrived at the Chalet. Cat believed she would recover from her Emp signatures, but she couldn’t really tell for sure.

Yolanda had been recovering steadily since their arrival at the Chalet. It was her back primarily that was limiting her getting around comfortably. The tree hadn’t been a very soft place to land apparently. Sumner recovered the fastest of the three. He’d had a mean road rash along the side of his face from his landing, but that would recover soon enough. Beatrice was definitely the one that concerned them all the most.

The news of the “bombing” in Durango had gone international. The word on the blast was that it was possibly the first of many strikes by Al Qaeda against the heartland of the nation. Threat levels across the nation had been elevated since the “attack” and the National Guard had been called into the mountain region in order to assist with the clean up and maintain curfew hours.

Yolanda snapped off the TV with a bit of disgust and threw the remote at the couch. “I guess I really screwed up this time. Wow.”

Sumner wandered over and put his arm around Yolanda. “Seriously? You should have expected this outcome how exactly? Something completely wigged Ben out. You couldn’t have known that would happen. Buck up lil butterfly. We’ll figure this out.” Yolanda was touched by the sweetness coming from an unexpected source and tears began to stream down her face. “See, I am so good at this pep talk thing I always make it worse. It requires a special sort of something to do exactly the opposite of what one is hoping for.” Yolanda laughed at this in spite of her tears. “See! When in doubt, self-deprecating humor. Works every time. Next I will show you my court jester routine where I beat myself in the head with a pan for the better part of an hour. You will be absolutely in stiches by the time I’m done with you.”

Everyone laughed at that. Cat threw a pillow at Sumner as she giggled like the little girl she was. And Derek piled on top of Sumner and began messing up his hair with both hands. “Not the hair, not the hair!” yelled Sumner.

Yolanda laughed loudest at that. “Derek knows your Achilles heel Sumner!” Yolanda yelled out as she continued laughing.

Then, in the midst of their first laughter of the last three days, Ben walked through the front door like it was the most normal thing in the world.