Akire took a single step, feeling the prickly wetness of the field’s grass flatten under her skin. The air sizzled and crackled, smelling of an anticipated storm; that smell that almost resembled ozone. A single flash illuminated the empty football field before all faded to black once more. The air felt heavy, weighted with the anticipation of what might happen, of what could happen, of the impossible that was on the brink of becoming possible.
Having never left the school in, at least not in four years, Akire had no idea what to think of the outside worlds, even if she was still on school grounds, still under heavy surveillance. Not five minutes prior she had been instructed to leave the interior of the school and “kick around some energy,” whatever that meant. The instructions had been a first for her. Most kids that had been sent out of the school never returned. Whether they ran away or were killed or simply vanished was beyond Akire’s grasp of her tiny universe; and yet, here she was, out in the open.
Some basic knowledge told her that her friend, March, stood somewhere on the roof, waiting for the same sensation, the same opportunity to prove that she was worthwhile – or, in March’s case, just how dangerous she really was.
Then again, it was hard to judge whether or not she was actually outside. There had been so many times when she had thought that she had made a great escape, only to find herself waking up strapped to a medical gurney in the school’s gym, that she had long since given up on feeling the rain again.
And then it came, an almost imperceptible wave of air as the sky opened and cool, fresh water propelled itself ever faster toward the softened earth.
Akire stopped. Whether this sensation was real or not was of little difference, the tangibility of it all stood out in her mind like a pinprick on the skin. A singular droplet of water splashed onto Akire’s forehead, trickling down her brow to her nose and cheek before dripping off her chin. Another dropplet hit her shoulder, her neck, her chest, all in a singularity of purpose: cleanse the earth.
…or at least, that was what it would have been for, had March and Akire not been present in this rainstorm. Their being in the open changed the storm into something more electric, to say the least.
In that singular moment, whether real or virtual, Akire lost herself in the soft rhythm of the rain. Every drop contain its own percussive note, all adding to a melody that swept her away into a realm that would never have been able to explain, not in her wildest dreams, not even to Jayde and his infinitely perplexing mind.
Two more steps forward, walking toe to heal, pressing herself forward with a graceful deliberation, Akire was overtaken by a motion that was not her own. A wind – a wind which undoubtedly came from the control of March – swept up around her, whipping her palazzo pants into a frenzy. They flared around her, encouraging her to spin and twist.
In a half skip, Akire turned, pulling her knee up, propelling her in a myriad of contorted motion. Her arms and leg floated about her almost effortlessly, expanding and contracting from the core of her body like a feather being blown about. Encouraged by the wind to leap, she did. Tossing herself into the air she was caught up in a rush of air. She stepped, turned, writhed in the freedom of expression that she had never been able to experience.
The soft patten of the rainfall grew softer as if drifting away…and then she opened her eyes.
Akire was the one that had drifted away, carried up into the sky by March’s delicately controlled wind. Currents of it flowed around her, creating soft cushions below her feet as she moved. Pausing for only a moment to catch her breath, she continued. Being urged to go on by March, despite her apprehension, Akire whipped herself around. The sensation of the wind buffeting her motion, and water falling over her in rhythmic, tumbling curtains, only made her feel all the more daring in her new-found freedom.
Her motions slowed, becoming longer, more expressive. Akire felt a torrent of wind push her from side to side. She moved with it seamlessly before dropping below it. Falling to a knee, one leg extended behind her, Akire stretched one hand above her as far as she could, using the other for balance behind her. That moment, the moment when her body came to a fully climactic stretch, was the moment that changed everything, the moment when Akire’s full potential was realized, the moment she really came alive.
A harsh, sudden crack split the air, light and heat arched up in a cascade of electrons that chased each other across the clouds for what seemed like hours, though March had nearly missed it by blinking. And then the thunder rolled in, not missing a beat behind the near-silent hum of the plasma.
From where she stood, March would have believed anything possible; Akire stretched out, suspended in midair, nearly three stories high, by a torrent of wind…wind that came summoned and controlled by March herself. But the lightning that had sprung forth out of Akire’s fingers, that was a little much, at least in March’s mind.
She took a step back, forgetting only for a moment that she was the one that held Akire suspended. In that moment, her blond-haired friend fell several feet, and in her panic shot another arch of lightning to the sky. This one hummed at such a low frequency that it shook March to the floor before the thunder had even clapped.
Standing, regaining control, March willed the wind to carry Akire still higher, buffeting her movements once more. And then she knew her true purpose for coming up here: stopping the thunder. The sound of the air rushing in to fill the void that the arch of plasma had created the ear drum rupturing sound. If March were to stop it, then a vacuum would form, something of great worth to the school…or in her mind, cause them to want to bow before her for lack of oxygen.
Akire spun on in delight at her newly discovered ability. And to think, I had always assumed that static shock was just something I was prone to. Another arch split the sky, vibrating at a high, almost melodious frequency…but no thunder. In fact, the wind had stopped altogether. No longer did it buffet her every movement, or even uphold her step, for that matter, she was feeling a little light headed.
Akire plummeted to the ground.
Waking up in a shock, sitting bolt upright, feeling the strain at her skull, Akire knew all too well where she was. Once more she was in the gym, on a gurney, in that accursed school that overlooked the sea; the sea that she had only seen in dreams and distant memories. She screamed, falling back into the cushion that had been provided for her head. In an instant an attendant was at her side, attempting to hold her down.
To no avail.
A small, seemingly static, shock leaped form the end of Akire’s forefinger to the metal latch of the buckle that held the strap around her wrist tight. With a slight tug, she wrenched her hand free. Her fist met the jaw of the attendant before she wrenched her other wrist free.
“I’m not staying here!” she screamed.
Another arch of plasma sped along the wires connecting her to a plethora of instruments. The saline in her IV began to boil, the computer behind her fried, and consequentially all the computers lined up on either side of her exploded in a burst of sparks. The entire system was fried in a matter of moments.
Ripping the wires from her head, Akire sat up and looked around the room. March and a few other attendants were the only ones present.
Having been woken up by Akire’s scream, March was attempting to devise a way to pull her own restraints free when the cascade of sparks had reached the wires attached to her skull…that’s when March short circuited.
Akire leaped off the gurney and propelled herself across the room to March’s gurney.
It couldn’t be possible. Her own stupidity could not have killed her best friend.
Upon reaching March, Akire touched her cheek, feeling the sensation of the still-warm skin. And then the question arose in her to the point where she asked it aloud, “Why are you still breathing?”
A short static shock struck March in the jaw, causing her to sit upright, completely startled by the sudden change in consciousness.
“March! Are you?”
“I’m fine, let’s move. Could you get me out of these things.”
Fidgeting a little as she went, Akire undid March’s restraints and pulled her into a sitting position.
That’s when it hit her, more voltage than the human brain should be capable of taking, straight into the nape of her neck. She fell with the grace of a bird shot in flight, her arms falling in an arch around her body, her knees buckling beneath her relaxed weight. In the moments before she lost consciousness, Akire could hear the muffled screams of March as she struggled against two sets of firm hands. Then it faded into nothingness, along with the shades of blue and gray and green, leaving only white light and traces of a plasma storm dancing around inside her skull. Akire took asingle step, feeling the prickly wetness of the field’s grassflatten under her skin. The air sizzled and crackled, smelling of ananticipated storm; that smell that almost resembled ozone. A singleflash illuminated the empty football field before all faded to blackonce more. The air felt heavy, weighted with the anticipation of whatmight happen, of what could happen, of the impossible that was on thebrink of becoming possible.