Superhero Sister: Part Five
My breath slammed into me as I realized something important- I wasn’t dead. Surprising, as a fifteen-floor drop was not something one did every day.
I tried rolling onto my feet, but my body refused to move. Extreme pain came from my right paw, either sprained or broken. Blood ran down my chest, and a nasty cut on my head revealed that it was doing the same. All in all, I wasn’t in bad shape.
“I wanted to save you for myself,” a dry, dull voice carried to me. “But I only slowed you a little bit.”
I turned my head towards to voice, my neck creaking. I saw a pair of yellow paws nearby, and I closed my eyes to wish I were dreaming. When I opened them, I repressed a sigh. Whoever had talked to me was real, if I liked it or not.
My right paw scorching, I sat up. My head swirled for a moment, but it calmed down after a few moments. When I could see again, I looked for the paws.
My eyes found the paws, and traveled upwards, upwards, until-
“Nice to meet you,” a yellow Kacheek said. “It was hard to get to know the real you through your dear friends.” He motioned behind me. Turning, I saw it was Lola.
Her paws were cut up badly, landing on the glass, and her neck was twisted in an awkward way. Her eyes were closed, and I screamed through the rain.
“Lola!” I shouted, screaming at seeing my friend- dead? She was the one who had tackled me, but had obviously landed in a much worse spot than I had.
A paw rested on my shoulder, spinning me to face the Kacheek face-to-face.
“Did you do this?” I yelled. “Did you kill her?”
“Yes and no, in respective order,” was his calm reply. “I am responsible, thank you, but I did not kill her. She’s alive, just unconscious. Shame, really. I shouldn’t have slowed her down, but in order to save you I had to save her as well.”
“Explain,” I commanded. I was tired of asking “what”.
“My name is Lukiem,” he said, throwing a small, rectangular item in the air and catching it again. “And I really, really, don’t want to be here.”
My voice didn’t seem to work- it just disappeared. The rain was still coming steadily down, roaring in my ears.
There was a strange sound behind me, but I couldn’t bring myself to roll off my back to see what had caused it.
“I thought,” came Lukiem’s voice, “you would want to see some friendly faces before... you died.”
Suddenly, my body twisted without my telling it to do so. Some invisible force yanked me up to four paws, and the pain dulled to a throb. I stood facing my mother and Rayon. Their eyes were unblinking, chilling me even more so than the rain.
The invisible force allowed me to move to face Lukiem, the crazed Kacheek. “Are you... controlling them?”
He jerked his head to the side, and said, “In your primitive terms, yes. But really, I control their bodies as well. With this here,” he held up the rectangular thing, which I had grown to dislike, “I can do anything I fathom up here.” He pointed to his head.
“Everything is made of particles, right?” he continued. He didn’t wait for me to nod, but my neck hurt too much either way. “And every time we touch something the particles interact. I designed this phaser here to interact with my mind, if you can understand that. If I think of something and press the button, it happens.”
“That’s impossible!” I shouted, regaining full control of my traitorous voice.
“Impossible is nothing!” he snapped. “That’s what the Defenders told me.”
Lightning in the distance encroached on our position, scaring me even more. If I didn’t die at Lukiem’s hands, I didn’t want to become a roasted Bori, either.
“What do the Defenders have to do with you?” I asked. “They’re-”
“I don’t care what they are!” he roared. “I’m not one of them! Everyone said I should be, but no! I wasn’t!”
Meanwhile, my mother and brother stood straight, not sentient or caring in the least that their lives were in danger. Then again, who knew if they even were my relatives?
Lightning flashed in the distance, and thunder followed immediately. “What do you mean?” I shouted to be heard over the torrent. “You wanted to be a Defender?”
“Did I want to be a Defender? Of course I did! I was apprenticed to the Judge himself! He always told me ‘impossible is nothing, follow your dreams!’ But when I followed them, they led me to a crushed nightmare!” Lukiem grasped his head in his paws, and in such a quiet tone I could barely hear him say, “Aryan, the Judge told me I couldn’t be a Defender because I didn’t have the physical talent. Do you know how crushing that was?”
I slicked back the fur on my head to get in out of my eyes. “How do you know my name?” I asked.
“I know everything about you, my dear! I know your name is Aryan, you’re fourteen, and you despise your brother going into the Defenders. You like playing and running, and you hate mathematics. Your best friend is Lola, your mother is Marcy, and Rayon is your brother. Every wish, dream, thought you have ever had is right here.” Once again, he showed me the phaser. “But there’s only one thing I don’t understand. My phaser can’t stop you from getting past the barriers I set up, and your mind won’t let me in.
“When you came and interrupted me, the Judge, and all the Defenders in our chat, I couldn’t kill them with you as witness. So instead I infiltrated the minds of the ones closest to you, to try to find your weakness so I could make the incident vanish in your mind.
“They lured you up there, Aryan. I wasn’t able to kill you with their bodies, so now I will. I can’t control you, so I’ll kill you. Ironic, isn’t it?”
My mind rolled around. “Why don’t you have half the town after me, then? Because I’m the only one you can’t touch?”
He flipped the phaser over. “This thing has its limits. I super-saturated the particles in it a while back, but it won’t get any more powerful.” He looked at me in the eyes. “Prepare to die, Aryan. Sorry it didn’t work out between us, really.”
Lukiem pointed the phaser at me and pressed the button.
My world didn’t explode, other than the fact that the lighting was perilously close.
I didn’t die.
“What?” he shrieked. He pressed the button again, and again. “Why won’t it work?” He stepped back from me.
“Why should I know?” I asked. “I don’t have anything to lose! You’ve already got my family! My friend! You can’t do any worse to me!”
“That’s it,” he said, surprisingly calm for trying to kill me. “It didn’t work on you because - because you don’t fear it. You don’t fear me.”
I laughed, shocking both of us. “I’m scared witless of you!”
But I looked deep inside of myself just then. There, in the center of me, Aryan, I found a part of myself that wasn’t afraid at all. The part of me that wanted to fight, and to bring justice for my family.
Taking that part of me and bringing it to the surface, I tackled Lukiem to the soggy grass. We rolled around, him pointing the phaser at me continually. “You-didn’t-get-the-information about me –from-me,” I grunted, trying to punch him. “That-was-taken-from Rayon’s mind. You-can’t hurt-me.”
He kicked me in the nose. “Yes-I can.”
We continued to fight, him having the upper-hand with the fact that he was bigger than me. Finally, I rolled off of him after he placed a punch on my head.
“So why are you trying to hurt Rayon, and me?” I asked.
“The Judge didn’t care!” he said, breathing heavily. “He gave me nothing and sent me on the way. Then, when I heard about your brother and him being so young, I wasn’t to have revenge by... by just hurting. Anybody,” he added. “So I invented the phaser, which works on fear, I learned today.”
“Release them!” I said, rolling back on him and punching him continually. He didn’t fight back. “Lola - and Rayon, and - and Marcy!”
“No,” he said calmly when I stopped to let my throbbing paws rest. “No.”
“Do you fear me?” I asked calmly, getting an idea.
“No,” he repeated.
“Liar,” I snarled. I grabbed the phaser from his grasp, and thought of freeing Rayon, Marcy and Lola from their mental binds. I pointed the phaser at them, and pressed the button. I didn’t see what happened, as Lukiem grabbed me and hit me directly on the nose.
“Give it to me!” he yelled, the rain splattering on both of us.
“No,” I said.
I pointed the phaser at him, thought what I needed, and pressed the button. I felt Lukiem’s body disappearing.
The rain started to lift, but still pounded on my back. Someone tapped me, and I turned. It was Rayon, who looked utterly confused. “Where am I?” he asked.
“It might take a while to explain,” I said. It looked like he had no memory since when he had been first taken over by the phaser. “Look in the cell lock-up. You’ve got a Kacheek there, ready to be put on trial for attempted murder, assault, and, um, having a dangerous weapon.”
Rayon still looked confused.
“It will take a really, really long time to explain,” I told him.
After Lukiem had been convicted of numerous accounts of attempted murder, I sat in the courthouse with a frown. I hadn’t yet totally filled in my brother on the details of Lukiem, but instead had presented my case to the courthouse, myself being witness.
Footsteps sounded behind me, and Rayon sat in the long row of chairs beside me.
“Hi,” he said, looking down.
“I wanted to apologize. For being an idiot, before Lukiem. I’m sorry, I was rude.”
I took my paw, placed it under his chin, and raised it. “Don’t be, you had the perfect dream which came true. It’s just, I feel bad for Lukiem.”
“Don’t,” he said, grinning. “He didn’t try hard enough to be a Defender. Instead, he ran when he was told he couldn’t be one. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the whole Defender business, it’s that when someone says you can’t do something, turn around and do it just to see the look on their face.”
I matched his grin. “I know, but still. He was brilliant, even though I disposed of the phaser.” I had done that by facing a mirror, pointing it at the reflection, and wishing for it to disappear. It had worked, to my surprise.
Rayon put a paw on mine. “Mom wants to talk with you. I think she wants to apologize as well.”
My grin disappeared. “She shouldn’t. I should, the way I’ve been lately.”
We took in the courthouse room, with the Judge’s desk in the center up front, the rows of chairs, and the podiums where the defendants and plaintiffs stood. It was elaborate, yet simple.
More footsteps came from the rear door, and when Rayon and I turned to see who it was, the Judge appeared. He came to sit on my left.
“Rayon,” his deep voice said, nodding to my brother. “Aryan,” he said, nodding to me. I nodded back.
He shifted in his seat. “Aryan, I thank you. You saved many lives, and I came to inform you that on your sixteenth birthday, if you wish, you could become a Defender.”
The Judge said it so fast I barely understood him. “Thank you, sir. I don’t know if I will,” I honestly told him.
“You have two years to think about it,” he said with a small smile. With that, he left the room.
Rayon turned to me. “You saved my life,” he whispered. “You really are a superhero sister.”
My smile came back. “Thanks, but I didn’t know it at the time.”
He stood, saying, “Of course you didn’t. That’s what makes you such a hero.”
Without saying anything else, he left the courthouse with receding steps.
I stood up as well, the room empty but for me. I went to the exit, and turned to face the courtroom.
My life changed in the past five minutes. I had a future, maybe. The courtroom represented my old life, my life where I didn’t care about anything. It had all changed, here. Out the doors, I could do anything. Tomorrow was waiting.
I waved to the room, waving to my old life. Then I turned and opened the doors, revealing the clear sunny day that went after a storm.
I exited the courtroom, and didn’t look back.