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LOCATION: CAIRO, EGYPT — EARTH
DATE: 12TH DAY OF LESSER EQUINOX
Rose hopped off the springy mattress and switched off the hotel television that she wasn’t watching anyways, at the sound of Kora’s distinct door-knocking pattern. It was the Melody of their favorite song together. Kora was only a four taps in when Rose swung the door open and spilling pink-haired bestie all over the room floor.
Kora rolled onto her back and laughed like a big kid she was. Open-mouthed, loud and frolicking.
“Shh!!” Rose tried shushing her which only had the affect of bringing on another fit of laughter out of Kora. “Really…?”
“What…” Kora took Rose’s assistance to stand. “We don’t have to be quiet yet Miss Paranoia.” She chuckled lightly now, the outburst fading to her usual over-joyedness.
“No. But it wouldn’t hurt to practice before we get there.”, Rose chastised. “Did you get the stuff?”
“Yeah…”, Kora responded lackadaisically, as she hunted for Rose’s remote. She spotted it on the counter and subsequently got distracted by the desk mounted refreshment device.
“Aaaand where is it?”, Rose questioned as Kora tapped in custom smoothie order.
“Oh!” Kora’s head snapped up from the machine, “…it’s outside.”
“What?!?!” Rose flung open the door and grabbed the felt craft store bag. She rummaged through it checking the contents, making sure her bright-eyed pal had gotten everything she asked for.
“So cool…”, Kora was now investigating the drink machine closely as the fresh fruit was transported to it via plastic air tubes. Her banana, strawberry, kale, walnut and peppermint smoothie was only seconds away. “You know what you’re planning to do is called vandalism right?”
“Is it though…”, Rose quirked, shaking the bottles of soap and plaster in either hand. “We’re restoring the Dark Angel statue, so if anything its beautification not vandalism. In all honesty we’re doing these guys a favor…Hey! What’s this?”. Rose tossed the statue restoration products back into the bag and held up the plastic card, that was about the length of her palm and about three fingers wide.
“I figured we could do something fun before we went to jail for the rest of our adult lives…”, Kora said taking the first slurp from her smoothie. “It’s a horror movie…”
“You wanna watch a scary movie before we go to jail?” Rose shot back rhetorically. “I mean…we’re not going to jail! Sure why not?”
“That’s my girl!”, Kora leaped with joy and snatched the card from Rose’s fingertips. “It’s called Dark Days…”, she informed as she slid the card into the back of the television remote; the film began to stream moments after she slid her thumb across the remote screen face.
“DANG IT!!!” Rose snapped awake irritated at herself for falling asleep. “Kora come on!! We dont have long before sunrise!”
Kora was only able to ignore the pushing and shaking for so long before she gave in, “Okay, okay…I’m up!!”
The sun was right on the heels of the two young women as they entered the temple. It had taken them walking into four wrong ancient buildings before they found the correct one, Rose knew it by the large skylight that hovered above it’s center. “Wait…”, Rose questioned her confidence.
“This has to be it. I remember the weird stone trail leading up to it…”
It was all wrong, the statue should’ve been just beneath the skylight, but it was gone. Only rubble remained where it had stood not even twenty-four hours ago. “This doesn’t feel right Ko–“
“AAAAAAAHHHHH” Kora’s scream broke into the early morning silence of the desert.
The large gust of wind were strong enough to knock Rose right off her feet, she couldn’t make out a thing in the hazy aftermath of swirling, mouth and nose filling dust that soon filled the room. She tried to call out for Kora, but the drying effects of rushing sand made that impossiple and so she merely hoarsed out her friends name in vein — coughing took over as her lungs earned for fresh air; Rose was helpless, bent over in a fit of coughing and wheezing, trying to see through the veil of sand was impossible.
“Who are you?!”, A strong voice echoed throughout the chamber.
“We’re sorry! We’re sorry!!!”, Kora protested. “Please don’t hurt us!!”
“KORA!!!”, Rose managed to muffle out a yell between coughing spasms, using her shirt as a mask. The sudden impact less than a foot away from where she stood caused her to lose footing once again. She sat in awe of the figure before her; it was almost to surreal to believe who she was seeing clutching Kora’s mouth with one hand and an the inside of the other elbow against Kora’s throat.
“Explain or your friend dies…”, the figure warned as two room and periphreal vision dominating wings erupted from it’s sides.
“Who do you work for?” Another question from the winged figure.
“I–it’s….It’s…you…”. The only words Rose was able to manage in her bewildered state.
A faint squeak escaped Kora’s mouth as the figure squeezed the headlock in tighter, signifying her seriousness.
Rose pulled the few chords of bravery she had for the situation at hand and got to her feet, “Please…please…we are not the enemy…”. She neared the Dark Angel with her hand outstretched towards Kora in show of concern…a mistake.
With the dexterity of an experienced hand-to-hand warrior, D’Amber shifted with lightning quick reflexes; pushing the weakened Kora to the ground then pinning her down with one of her seven-foot wings, while at the same time snatching Rose off her feet by the collar of her shirt. “Your eye…”
For the first time in her life Rose’s one Amber eye gave her a feeling of relief as the Dark Angel gently placed her back down.
“Your just kids…”, D’Amber began to relax a bit, “Why are you here?”
“Uh…” Rose could not remember how to make coherent words come out of her mouth. “Uh–uh…so…duah-gha..huh..uh…”.
“What is happening…” Kora coughed, clutching at her chest and neck.
D’Amber stepped away from the starstruck child, took up a seat on one of the overturned pillars and began stretching her arms and wings.
Rose lost conciousness and would’ve landed face first into the stone floor had D’Amber not caught her in the nick of time.
Kora remained frozen in fear, afraid to look to hard at the winged herione of the past but unable to take her eyes away. She was enthralled at the speed in which the Dark Angel reacted in catching Rose and after what felt like a millenia, she finally crawled over to the pair.
D’Amber had Rose’s head cradled in her arms and was very fondly stroking her hair behind her ear. She shuddered and pushed Rose into Kora’s arms as the latter came too close into her concentrated presence. In one quick flap of her wings D’Amber floated back to the pillar. She rubbed her temples and face in obvious distress and frustration, the sand at her hands immediately began clogging the open, sweating pores of her forehead.
Kora, still captivated by the presence of legend, uncapped her canteen and began to trickle water onto her friends face; hoping that somehow it had some restorative ability. She wasn’t a nurse by any means, but hope was one of her best fortes.
Rose came to with a huge gasp of air, her eyes bulging and staring deep into Kora’s as she continued to inhale and exhale deeply. Her chest rose and fell sharply a several times before she finally spoke up, “Where is she?”
Kora pointed a shaky finger in the direction of Rose’s hero…
“Hi…”, D’Amber spoke with the ease of someone who hadn’t just attacked the two girls. She could tear her own hair from her skulls at the tremendous amount of anger and frustration she felt in the present moment, but as the hero she was, she knew when to appear strong. Right now these two young girls needed to see her in all the valor they must envision her having. She couldn’t believe the girl had fainted, but it made her wonder how old they were and what they were doing at a Clear Sky research facility. “Please. Lets skip the greetings or whatever…and how about you two start telling me what’s going on…”
“We don’t know…”, Kora finished for the stammering Rose.
“Huh…”, D’Amber stood and slowly walked past them and towards the temple entrance. “Well at the very least I assume you know how to get past this barrier since you walked in here.” She stated as she pressed her hands against an invisible surface in the doorway.
New day light was beginning to fill the surrounding area as dawn approached.
“What barrier?” Kora asked confused as ever, tilting her head at the miming motions of the Dark Angel.
“Wow….so you really dont know a thing….”, D’Amber sighed.
“None of this can be real, right?” Rose tugged at Kora’s sleeve. “I’m dreaming…this has to be a dream. You made me watch that crazy movie and we missed our chance to go to the ruins. I’m sleeping thats all, its just a dream.” She closed her eyes and began slapping at her face, trying to wake up.
“Can you two fight?”, D’Amber asked calmly.
Kora, struggling to grab hold of Rose’s hands to stop the slapping, looked up at D’Amber. “What….why would you ask th–“. Before she could finish the question the loud, angry, excited voices of local dialect began to echo lightly into the temple hall.
“Because they seem angry.”, D’Amber stepped away from the entrance and grabbed the girls in one motion; with each of them in tow she dropped in behind a delapidated wall right as the bullets began to ricochet around the empty ruins.
“AAAAAAHHHHHH” Both girls let out ear-bursting screams.
“So no….you cannot fight….”, D’Amber said to herself. She tried to peak over the broken wall and immediately ducked as the gunfire directed it’s attention in her direction, “Shit!”
“I don’t wanna die!!!” Kora yelled out in full-blown panic.
Rose had begun to hyperventilate.
“Listen to me! I need that barrier down or we all will die!”, D’Amber looked sternly at them both. “That looks some fancy, tech stuff…” she said pointing towards thier chrono’s, “I take it you know how to use them? See if you can get this barrier down and I’ll hold them off as long as I can.” That was all she said before launching into the air with a bloodcurling battle cry. Stone peircing gunfire and ricochets trailed her flight path and the screams of injured men followed it as well.
“Rose, Rose!!! Rose, c’mon!!!! Breath!!!” Kora tried to calm Rose’s panic attack. “C’mon girl! This is real, I need you!! We gotta get outta this!!!”. She needed to hear those words as much as she needed to say them. After a brief moment of panic, she began to hum softly into Rose’s ear.
Rose tried to block out the sounds of fury and focus entirely on the sound of Kora’s tune. It was working her breath was slowing to a more manageable panic state, until a body crashed into the ceiling just above their heads. It fell to the stone floor with a thud. They both screamed in terror once again.
Kora snatched up the weapon that was still attached to the mangled, oddly bent hand and arm. “Yes.”
“What?!” Rose, looked at her freind frightfully curious.
“Oh…”, Kora snatched the charging handle back on the rifle, “I thought you asked if I knew how to use this.”
“I did not…”, Rose didn’t know who she was talking to anymore, but whoever this pink-haired imposter of her best friend was gave her a sense of bravery. “Look there!”, she pointed over Kora’s shoulder towards the corner of the sanctuary. “I’ve seen that before…In AHS-101, (pronounced ‘ASS’-101 by the students), its a Amber detention power supply!!”
“Okay…..and why do we care?”, Kora asked clutching the rifle tightly to her chest.
“That’s how were going to get out…”, Rose informed, “We gotta get close enough for me to scan it…”
“Are you crazy?!?!” Kora looked at Rose with bewildered eyes.
“You said you know how to use that…”, Rose declared defiantly.
Kora sighed louldy, “Doesnt mean I want to!!!”, she yelled back her counter argument.
“No choice…” Rose said before breaking out into a sprint towards the overhanging device.
Instinct determined Kora’s response as she took up a run right behind Rose, firing away in the direction of any oncoming security personell.
Startled midsprint Rose dropped to her knees and slid as a man appeared from behind a collapsed pillar. With a large dagger in his right hand, he grabbed Rose’s neck tightly with his left.
Kora hesitated, fear and lack of confidence making it impossible for her to fire towards Rose.
All fear was null and void as the Dark Angel came crashing into the man with a both fist pressing his body against the temple wall. He was limp and wedged into the depression D’Amber had made as the dagger clattered to the ground. “Go!!!”, D’Amber yelled at the girls who were just standing motionless.
They immedieately did as commanded.
Fifteen feet was all Rose needed for her chronos to gain access to the power supply. She slid under an archway and lifted her wrist up in one motion. The beam of light coating the electronic device in a wide sweep. Unfortunately, the red light indicating power remained steady, her and Kora were frozen staring up at it helpless and out of answers. They locked eyes, impending doom apparent in both of their visions. The loud beep brought them out of fear and they yelled out in triumph as the light flashed momentarily and finally extinguished.
D’Amber made her way to the celebrating girls, grabbed them under arm and with a series of barrel rolls and dodges escaped the temple unharmed. Her wings delighted at the open air and warm sun rays. D’Amber breathed in a deep lungful of fresh air and savored the heated sand aroma of the desert. She flew as high as she felt comfortable with the girls in tow and put as much time and distance as she could between them and the incoming bullets, as fast as she could.
Copyright © 2020 Kacy Gilbert (Writing as Remontz)
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