Chapter 6: Matthias
The beginning of the end has started, we are living in a world that is dying. Ending. Everything I do is engulfed by this sense of finality. Every ounce of food that passes my lips could be the last. Each touch could be the final sensation I have before utter obliteration. And I can't savor any of it, because it all hurts. Everything burns like the flaming pain of a knife piercing my lung. I am in agony.
As the lightning rained down on the tarmac of the Florentine airport, as the cloud-darkened world was illuminated by brilliant flashes of electric blue, I could see the world ending. My nightmares manifest. Fragments of earth. The shattering end.
A plane in front of me erupted into flame, and the dark landscape gleamed with a ruddy luster. I was thrown to the ground, the air evacuated from my lungs. Evacuate. Please evacuate. "Please evacuate in an orderly fashion..." some voice over the intercom said. Renard was gone, the proper authorities had reclaimed the PA system.
Streaks of blue zipped through the sky. Transient and erratic, like static. Antithesis was enjoying herself, playing like this was a game. And of course, it was, this was a game for her. After all, she's the most powerful Oktoberist. Well, the third. After brother Joshua and sister Katie. But she was born of the lab and needle, just like them.
I stumbled to my feet and my eyes darted around the ground, scanning for my firearm, which had fallen when I was knocked back. Natasha had already opened fire on Antithesis, but her shots were fruitless. A target as small and fast as Antithesis was, as far away as she was? There isn't a chance in hell you can hit that, even when you ignore the fact she can stop bullets dead in their tracks.
Somewhere, remotely, I was ordering my comrades to get to Katie, but this higher functioning was a separate entity from myself. Now I was operating on instincts and reaction. A blue bolt crashed into the ground, kicking earth and tarmac into the air. Sparks danced out of the resulting crater. And of course, the ever present laughter echoed as Antithesis rose like an electric phoenix from the smoke. I opened fire, but the bullets merely ricocheted off of here like super balls.
The rattle of machine gun fire resounded across the tarmac. Security personnel had arrived on the scene and were laying into the other three, who took cover behind a shipping container. They ignored me and Antithesis temporarily, and apparently she decided to make use of her anonymity. Forgoing her electrical menace, she drew a long, eastern sword from a sheath on her back. A katana, various marking engraved on the blade, and as she drew it, blue sparks danced along the blade. She came at me fast, faster than anything should move, but she kept it toned down. No flashes or bolts, nothing that would draw the attention of the security guards.
I opted for a less subtle offense, and unloaded what remained of my clip. The bullets curved right past her, or her past the bullets. She was moving too fast to even see. With a vicious grin on her face, she rushed at me, sparks flying from the ground with each step she took. I ducked and rolled as she took her first swing. Electricity traced the arc of her blade through the air.
"Did you miss me?" Antithesis cackled.
"Shut up. I am not doing this witty banter BS with you. You're a monster," I replied.
"How harsh!" she snickered. I had no melee weapons, and there was no time to reload my clip. Antithesis took another swing. "Do you like the sword? A mutual friend of ours gave it to me."
"I want to see your blood smeared across the tarmac for what you did to Smith."
"You're right, it was rather cruel of me to start playing with you four then disappear so suddenly. And I didn't even call, how thoughtless. I've been busy recently, had a job Midas wanted me to take care of up north. It's cold up there, even colder when it's so windy. Oh, a piece of advice: don't wake up hibernating animals. The big ones get incredibly testy."
A wrench was lying on the ground nearby, and as Antithesis took her next swing, I dodged toward it. She attempted to stop me with a bolt of lightning, but it zipped over me, scorching my clothes. I grabbed the wrench, it was long and heavy. Antithesis smiled, and swung at me. I blocked the blow with my wrench. She quickly followed up with a low swipe, but I blocked that as well. Seeing an opportunity, I swung wildly at her, but she easily blocked the sloppy attack. As our weapons were locked together, she sent a strong current through her blade. It flowed through her weapon, into mine, and then into me. The pain was excruciating, but it was nowhere near enough amperage or voltage to kill me, though she could easily dispose of me if she wanted.
She was just playing a game.
Machine gun fire sounded again, but this time it was much closer. The security had noticed Antithesis and opened fire on her. She made some sort of shrieking, inhuman noise somewhere between a scream and laughter as the bullets dropped to the ground in front of her. She lost all interest in me and turned to her aggressors. I took the opportunity and ran, she didn't even notice.
My hands were burned, it was a light wound, but still one that would be painful for a few hours. I fumbled with a magazine as I tried to insert it into my firearm and ultimately dropped it. An engine roared behind me, and I turned my head to see Natasha behind the wheel of Katie, careening towards me. Mere yards from me, she braked spun, throwing the door open perfectly as she came to a stop about three feet from me.
"You could've killed me!" I screamed.
I complied. She said something about Nick and Smith, but the rush of the wind was deafening. However, it became clear she was trying to tell me they had found a plane for us, they were standing next to a large, gray cargo plane and waving us down. Natasha gunned it, pushing Katie up to one fifty. A blinding blue reflected off one of the sideview mirrors. Antithesis had apparently dispatched security, and was now focused on us again. Cyan lightning surged past the car and evaporated the midsection of the cargo plane. Natasha swore, and began braking, pulling the same move she had just used on me. Smith clambered into the car while Nick took a moment to stand up and dust himself off.
The streak that was Antithesis shot overhead and tore through a line of Boeing 747's. She was rapidly cutting down any hope we had of escape. I scanned the tarmac, and noticed a military cargo plane. With its bay door down, no less. Natasha had apparently seen it too, and before she even heard me give the order, she was zipping towards it. We were thrown back against the seats, Katie had acceleration I hadn't even imagined a car like her having. Antithesis flew over us, and electricity fell off of her like hail.
We were mere yards from the plane when Katie started decelerating. Rapidly. The bloom of azure was glowing behind us. Antithesis was dragging us back out, creating a magnetic wormhole. My gun was yanked from my hand, thankfully not taking my index finger with it.
Moving faster than I've even seen him move, Smith produced a small, round, green orb from some unseen pocket inside his jacket, ripped something from the top and tossed it into the air. A pin dangled around his middle finger. Antithesis saw the grenade, the expression on her face was priceless. The monster fled, avoiding the explosion by mere seconds.
Katie rocketed into the plane, and I jumped out before she even came to a complete stop. Natasha braked hard, and without taking the keys out of the ignition, she ran to the cockpit of the plane. I dashed for the controls for the bay door, and slammed whatever looked like close. Nick screamed "Where the hell did you get a grenade?!"
"Nicked it from Natasha's personal stash."