First the alarms sounded. Glaring bursts of shattering noise that forced all employees and customers to stop what they were doing so they could cover their ears. Avera reached for the snooze button but only succeeded in knocking away one of her tires. It rolled to the far wall before coming to a rest.
“Alright! I’m up!” Avera sat up.
THERE IS A FIRE.
“Are you going to tell me where?”
Avera stared up at the ceiling for lack of any where else to stare.
“Avera! There’s a fire in the building!” Kyle slide through the door into Tires and Wings.
“Is Halo and Feathers locked down?” Avera jumped up and shrugged into a heavy winter jacket. “I don’t want it exploding again.”
“It’s locked down.” Kyle said through catching his breath. “Vicky is…” but stopped as Avera ran out the door. Kyle sighed and took after her.
Illumination lights had lit up the walkways to direct people out at the near exits. Some of those light strips lead directly into corners and walls. People had started out orderly but it was quickly turning into chaos as stores were abandoned and left open.
Avera skittered to a halt on the floor and backed up several feet to examine one of the blast screens that had closed. “There’s two people in there.”
“How can you tell?” Kyle stared at the blank metal wall.
“Right there,” she pointed at a spot on the floor. “That’s how. Open it.”
Kyle bent down and heaved his shoulder into the door. With effort he pulled it up an inch. “You could help you know.”
There was a flash of yellow light around the edges of the door. Kyle let go and it stuck fast. He repositioned himself and then heaved the door up. “Anyone in here?”
A group of three teens ran out of the department store. “Thank you.” They shouted as they ran off, following one of the exit floor lights.
“You said two.”
“One of them was a twin.” Avera said, out of breath. She turned her attention to a few looters and the blast door slammed close as the yellow pattern faded. “HEY! Looting is…”
A blast threw everyone to the ground. “Looters will be shot on sight!” Vicky’s voice boomed over the settling dust, smoke and rubble. “Now drop it and get out of the building!”
The looters dropped everything and ran.
“Yay! Vicky!” Avera jumped up and down and clapped her hands. “You demolished that whole area quite well.” She ran over and gave the shorter girl a big hug.
“But you missed them.”
“If I hit them, then I would have had to heal them. And I didn’t want to heal them. Sections A and B are empty of everyone. Also no sign of fire in case you were wondering.”
YOU ARE GETTING COLDER.
“Actually, the place is warming up quite nicely.” Kyle said.
“Yes, that is the problem.” Avera dropped Vicky from the hug. “Wait.” Avera tore off down the hallway at inhuman speeds.
“She’s going to drop isn’t she?” Vicky said.
“Probably.” Kyle said.
Vicky holstered her discharged Winters Special. “We should stop her, shouldn’t we?
They chased after her.
“Help! She’s trying to kill us!” a muffled voice shouted at them as they caught up with Avera.
“Oh, good, she got distracted,” Vicky said.
“Look, I’m trying to save you!” Avera shouted through a door. “We’re evacuating the building!”Kyle picked up Avera and walked several steps away with her held out in front of him at arms length.
“Put me down! I was being helpful!” Avera spat and twisted like a large, angry cat.
Kyle put her down. “Sit.”
Avera shot ice dangers at him. He dodged them as they stuck into the ceiling.
Vicky meanwhile coaxed the two children out of their hiding place. “Where are your parents?”
“Today, they said we could come by ourselves!” the older one said proudly. “We were on our way to Torches and Books.”
“Unfortunately, you won’t be getting there today. So please exit as fast as possible.” Kyle said over his shoulder as he kept Avera distracted.
“Does she really work here?” The younger one whispered to Vicky.
“Yes, she really works here.” Vicky lead them around the corner and pointed them into the direction to go.
“I was helping!” Avera said.
I THOUGHT SHE WAS DOING FINE.
“No, you were being terrifying again. And you’re no help either! Where is the fire?” Vicky shouted.
“No, it’s really hot.” Avera said.
“You could take off that winter coat.” Kyle said.
“But then the heat would get me.”
THE BUILDING IS NOW EMPTY.
“No it’s not! We’re still here,” Vicky shouted
COUNTER MEASURES IN 3.
“I hate this part.”
A low rumble started in the floor and grew more violent as it grew closer. Vents along the ceiling and walls slammed open with a metallic bang. Stale air rushed past them out of all the open vents. The three backed up against the wall as best as possible.
Water shot out of every vent with the force of a fire hose. Within moments, torrents of water flooded through every hallway, flowing over the balconies down to the lower levels in massive angry waterfalls.
The water roared around the trio. Suddenly as it had started, the water stopped. The flood crested at the top balcony, lapping just onto the tiled floor.
Immediately the place began to drain.
“I’ve never managed to stay dry through one of those.” Kyle said, noting that none of them were even wet.
I CAN SOAK YOU YET.
A vent opened directly above them.
“No!” The three shouted. The vent vanished back into the ceiling.
THE FIRE IS OUT.
“I would hope so.” Vicky said.
The three sat down at the edge of the balcony and watched as the water drained away through the floors below them.