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Class 10 – Norian Nightmare
Kyane sat on her laptop scanning Netflix. The streetlamps buzzed. It was a sound she had stopped noticing long ago. It returned in full swinging since she stopped being home at night. There was a knock on her door. “Knock, knock,” said a voice she couldn’t believe.
“Come in,” Kyane said. She closed her laptop and scooted it under her bed. The door opened. It was who she thought it was.
Desmond entered her room in a long sleeve baseball shirt with the buttons on the front collar undone and worn jeans. He gave his shining smile. “Hey, Ky.”
Kyane couldn’t scramble to her feet quickly enough. “Desmond, hi.” She quickly straightened her hair. “What are you doing here? How’d you get in? How’d you get passed, my parents?” Desmond strode to her and kissed her on the lips. Her heart exploded in electricity. She was energized. He tasted like candy. She really wanted some chocolate now.
“You don’t need to worry anymore, Ky. It’s just us.” He put his hands on her waist. “You don’t need to think so much about stuff. You can just, like, open up.” He moved a hand and rubbed her cheek.
“Desmond, this can’t be.” She pulled away. “I can’t do this. I’ll always have to keep running away. Well running away from you to my job. Child labor job. Slavery. Maybe I shouldn’t phrase it like that, but-” Desmond wrapped his arms around her and kissed her neck. It sent tingles everywhere.
“I know, Ky. I know the truth.” Kyane turned around. “It’s pretty damn obvious who you are. You have a job to do and I will never be mad at you, turn my back on you, or blame you.” He placed his hands on his cheek again. “I will just lo-” he violently stopped talking. The first thing Kyane noticed was the pupil the size of saucer plates. Blood pooled at the corners of his mouth then ran down his lips. It drowned his shirt in liquid red.
Kyane looked down and saw the yellow and orange claws were protruding through his shirt and covered in blood. Kyane screamed. Desmond’s body was tossed onto her bed. All the life in his eyes was gone. Herreas stood where Desmond did, a figure too large for the room he stood. Kyane went to align but was stopped by Herreas’s tail binding her arms. He pulled her close to him. His hot breath made her shiver and shake. He opened his mouth. “Beep,” he said.
“Beep,” he said again. “Beep.”
Kyane swung her arms, clocking Herreas in the face, but doing no damage. All Herreas could keep saying was, “beep.”
She sat on a large fabric couch under the warm blanket and embrace of Desmond. She jostled to move his arm off her shoulder, remove the blanket off her body, and then grabbed her phone. Desmond paused the TV and sat up. Kyane scrolled through her phone and let out a large, violent sigh. “What’s wrong?” he asked. He tried to scoot in and sneak a peek. Kyane quickly typed a message before he could see what she said.
Kyane kicked herself off the sofa and straightened out her clothing. “It’s just work. Of course…” she looked away from him only to end up looking at a six-year-old Desmond with chubby cheeks, a missing bottom tooth, and muscular arms holding a baseball bat for his little league team.
“What?” Desmond asked. He quickly discarded the blanket and stood up. “I thought you had the night off. That’s why I asked my parents if they could meet you today.”
“I did too.” She stretched her arms and twisted her core. “How does a six-year-old have bigger muscles than I do?”
“Just go,” Desmond said. He rubbed his face. “I just can’t. Can’t you say no?
“It’s not that kind of job.” She slipped on her shoes. Well, shoes. She dropped to the ground and looked for the other one.
“What kind of job is it? Are you some; like, cool action news reporter and no one ever knew? Like sorry your job will be understaffed tonight. They deal.”
Kyane thought back to sitting around their round, wooden kitchen table and playing field hockey with the questions while using Mrs. Dice’s fantastic food as a secondary cover. The most she honestly said about her job was that she worked with her parents at the SkyRise Labs. When his parents followed up with the question she was dreading, “Ohh, scientist. What do you want to do when you grow up?” she tried to crumple deep into the seat.
She wanted to say she was too busy saving the world now to think about what her life would be like in ten years. What she ended up saying was the honest answer of, “I don’t know.” It took longer than it should have for her to say those three simple words, but she said them. Other than that, she thought the night had gone well, until, well she got the call.
She found her shoe and crumpled it in her hands. “They won’t.” Just tell him, her inner voice said. Or maybe that was D13 coming in from somewhere she didn’t know about. She then imagined the whole of the United States military descending on the small two-bedroom townhouse Desmond and his parents occupied.
“Whatever,” he said.
Desmond got out of her way to get to the door. “I am really sorry. I don’t want to go. I was comfortable. Kind of…” her voice trailed off.
“It was a really great night. I promise.” She put her hand on his chest, or maybe it was a boulder he tapped to his actual chest. Jesus. “I will be absolutely ready for our dance.”
“Go, Ky,” Desmond said. He tried to hide his smile. “Have fun at work.”
Kyane opened the door. “Oh, I’m sure I will.” She smiled and closed the door. “Not.” She dropped her shoulders.
Kyane raced away from Desmond’s house and to the most secluded part of the neighborhood, she could find. When she did, she aligned the gems on her bracelets with the belt face. The belt began emitting a blue grid onto her body. The vibration spread with it. The clumps of black metal poured out of the stones and b-lined to the spaces on the grid. The pieces expanded to fix the grid space. Each piece smacked against her body, then snapped together like a puzzle. It was overall painless except for two pieces smacking her butt, and the breastplate mashing onto her chest. A tickle carried up her neck as metal extended from the back, and chest plate, covering her neck. The final pieces of metal snapped together with blue glass in the middle forming a helmet with a visor. The helmet snapped onto her skin. The outfit was complete.
“Good evening, Kyane,” D13 said with no hint of the fact she had a previous engagement.
“Don’t talk to me. Just route me to where Jerry wants us.”
“On it,” he said. “It is quite strange that UDCs have been attacking in the mornings, and nights since last week.”
“Yeah, fascinating,” Dieous said unimpressed. She opened the window, jumped to the tree, then to the ground, onto the road, and to the location Jerry sent.
Dieous arrived at the cordoned-off building. Military jeeps were parked at both ends with soldiers positioned around them. Dieous landed between the Jeeps. The building was a two-story brick structure. It was originally an apartment complex. It was clear for the boarded-up windows and gate locked doors it had seen better days at least. Streetlights shown on the rusted fire exits that descended all sides of the building.
Jerry exited the passenger side of the left Jeep. He held an iPad with a green filter on it. He tapped the screen a few times. “I have just sent you the situation inside.” Vic appeared from out of nowhere to stand behind him.
The green filter video appeared on the HUD. It was of five raptors exiting a portal. “Doesn’t seem so dangerous.”
“This has been the second group of five UDCs, in 24 hours.”
“They’ve never appeared this frequently before.”
“It’s because one of the 12 must have been born,” D13 said.
“Shut up,” Kyane said.
“I’m just going to take care of them now,” Dieous said. “What floor is this feed coming from?” Jerry pointed to a boarded-up window on the second floor. D13 zoomed in on the HUD. A small black wire ran from the window down to a Jeep. “Right.” Dieous revved her engines, crouched down, then jumped to the fire escape in front of the window. She landed with a clank.
“There goes our surprise entrance,” Kyane said.
Dieous reared her arm back and smashed through the wooden bars on the windows. The streetlights blasted into the room blinding the raptors. She got a quick look at the room. It was an enclosed kitchen with the stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher still intact. The raptors hissed and lunged at her. Dieous leaped to meet them. The five tangled themselves around each other and fell to the ground. Dieous hurled them off her. One held onto her arm. She spun around, grabbed the raptor by the arm, then slung him out of the window. The raptor clattered against the fire escape; it shook violently. The raptor then bounced to the sidewalk below.
A raptor charged at Dieous. She kicked it into the stove. Its body crumpled the oven door. A third raptor lunged at her neck, while the fourth swiped at her arm. Dieous backhanded the raptor swiping at her. The lunging raptor bit down on her neck. Dieous reached back. She grabbed him by the neck and slammed him down on its back. The final raptor faced her. They flung groupings of punches and kicks at each other. Dieous kicked him against the refrigerator. The raptor bounced off it. Dieous punched the raptor. It dodged. Dieous’s fist pierced the refrigerator door. She yanked her hand out, the door followed, it slammed against the raptor’s face. The raptor collapsed to the ground.
Dieous leaned against a countertop and covered his eyes. It then vibrated away into green rings. Kyane closed her eyes and drifted away into the abyss of sleep-deprived time. A space where you were never sure if you slept for 10 seconds, or 10 hours. Her body felt weightless, drifting along with the current of an abyss while her body never moved. She felt herself fall onto her back.
“Kyane!” D13 called out. “Kyane wake up!”
Kyane opened her eyes. Two of the raptors were mounted on top of her, scratching, tearing, and biting her. She screamed.
Dieous pushed them off and onto the floor. She stood up and looked around. They were the only raptors left. They backed away, then darted toward her. One leaped at her face, the other swiped the legs. Dieous ran to meet them. He jumped between them, extended one leg upward, and the other downward to spiral-kicked them. Her feet caught hold of their necks and spun them in the opposite direction, knocking the leaping raptor’s head into the floor, and the swiping raptor’s head into the ceiling. Dieous landed with a thud. She stood and cracked her neck. “I’m going to feel that one.” He picked up the two unconscious raptors and tossed them into the portal. It fluctuated rapidly, shocking the area, before squishing back to normal.
Dieous exited through the window and jumped to the ground. “They’ve been taken care of,” she said. “Five at a time makes me feel like it’s been hundreds of them since last week.”
“Good job, Dieous,” Jerry said. He looked up from his iPad. “I wonder why they are sending so many out recently.”
“I’m going to bed now,” Dieous said. She opened the back of the nearest Jeep and laid across the seats. He aligned the gems and flashed back to Kyane.
Kyane closed her eyes for a moment. “Just like ten seconds. That’s all I need. Can someone just drive me home?” She mumbled. She turned over to face the back of the seats and closed her eyes. “I just need a moment,” she said, her voice faded. She didn’t want to talk to anybody until she had to in the morning.
Kyane felt like she dreamed her way through the rest of the morning. Jerry woke her up when they got back to her house. She staggered into the bed, where she took another power nap, ate a semblance of breakfast, then was driven to school. Her sleepy haze backed by Rise Against playing in her earbuds. Her head collided with her desk the moment she sat down. She didn’t even notice Jamie had returned to class, more because he had too and less because he needed the information.
Desmond entered a few minutes after Kyane passed out. He slid into his seat behind Jamie and leaned to examine Kyane. “Are you going to wake her?” Desmond asked.
“I was taught never to wake someone up while they are sleeping.”
“Tsk, tsk, Jay.” Desmond stood up and crept over to Kyane. “I was taught that if someone is sleeping you play a prank on them.” He followed the trail of her earbuds from the ears to where they met on the edge of the desk.
“She’s going to hate you,” Jamie said. He held up a notebook to block his eyes from the fury Kyane was going to unleash.
“She does kinda deserve it for how our date ended yesterday. Even if work must be a total killer for her.” Desmond gently tugged on the earbud cord. It went down to her jacket pocket.
Jamie peaked over the notebook at Desmond. “Work can cause problems. But you should look beyond it.”
Desmond slowly pulled her phone out of her pocket, like he just dropped it down a car seat and didn’t want to yank the aux cord out. He cleared the pocket and grabbed it. “Yeah?” He asked. He held the phone in his hand. He tapped the home button.
“She wouldn’t go with you to the formal this weekend if there wasn’t some care.”
“She already bought the stuff she told me. She wouldn’t waste it all by not going.” He slid the bottom of the screen up to reveal a list of commands and tapped the volume button.
“Yeah…” Jamie said with less confidence than usual. “She did buy all the stuff,” he continued, his confidence dropping further with each word. Desmond didn’t seem to notice.
“See, so she won’t-huh!?” He looked at the controls. It was blasting full volume already.
“What?” Jamie asked. He placed the notebook down and leaned over to see what Desmond was upset about. “Oh.”
“Man, she ruined my good joke!” Desmond stood and tossed the phone onto the desk.
“Myou wuined mwy gewd nhap,” said Kyane’s muffled voice. “I hate you both right now.” She paused. The word both swirled around in her exhausted mind until her last synapses made a last-ditch effort to connect and did. “Both?” She rocketted her head up and saw Jamie sitting back in his seat. “Both!” She tried to hug him, but her desk caught her movement.
The bell rang, and Mr. Ayer entered the classroom and closed the door. He saw Jamie. His face didn’t even attempt to hide the surprise he felt. “Jamie! Welcome back. I didn’t think you would be back so soon.”
“Knowledge can’t keep me away as much as it tries,” Jamie said.
Kyane quickly texted Jamie while Mr. Ayer had his back turned away from the class to write on the whiteboard. “Thanks for covering, we can go shopping for the clothes tonight, right?” Jamie watched Mr. Ayer write on the board, totally transfixed. His phone rang two times. He didn’t even notice. Kyane psst at him and then gestured to his phone before he looked. He did and just nodded. Kyane rubbed her forehead, closed her eyes and took all her power to not fall asleep like had become her norm since the increase in UDC attacks.