Speak 24-I

Flame Your Crew.

Nothing happened.

“It's…” Void managed to choke out, looking confused. “It's just symbols?”

“Hm,” the big guy rumbled. “Interesting. Tell me, how do you fake your powers?”

She spat in his face.

“Disappointing. Ah, well. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of opportunities to figure it out on my own.” Effortlessly, with the one hand still holding her by the neck, he pulled her out of the crater she’d made in the wall and slammed her back into it.

She choked, a spray of blood splurting from her mouth. “Talie!” I blurted out, charging forward. He let me get close, then without even looking, held up the datapad. I flinched away, covering my eyes, and he backhanded me to the ground.

“Wait your turn,” he said. He wrenched Void out again, but once she was out she immediately twisted in his grip, holding his arm with both hands, and kicked him in the chin. His head went reeling backwards with a nasty sounding crunch, but he didn’t lose his grip on her neck. In fact, he squeezed harder, and I could see her face starting to contort as she struggled for breath.

Hey, great opportunity to be less useless. I threw myself onto my feet, grabbing a nearby piece of rubble and swinging it with all my strength at his wrist. It had way less of an effect than it should’ve, of course, but it still loosened his grip enough that she managed to wrench herself free. He immediately swung at her, before she’d even hit the ground, but she caught the blow on crossed forearms.

As soon as she was free, I jumped backwards again. Not cowardice, just common sense. She could take hits, I couldn’t. Instead of attacking again, though, he just stood there.

Real fond of doing that, he was.

“You’re very interesting, you two,” he said slowly, a smile stretching across his face.

“Oh, really,” I said sourly, as Void backed up to stand beside me. “I’m so glad to hear we meet your personal standards of approval.”

“Is that why you left us standing?” Void asked him warily. “Because we’re ‘interesting’?” A little bit of blood dribbled from the corner of her mouth, and she wiped it away with the back of her hand.

“You?” He laughed. “I didn’t leave you anything. But, you have a surprising habit of getting back up when you shouldn’t. And now… this.” He waved the pad around a little, and both of us flinched. “It’s very, very interesting indeed. I never would have guessed you were a fraud. Do you use technology, perhaps? If so, you conceal it very well. My congratulations.”

I was very, very sure Void had powers. I’d seen her do so many things that an ordinary person simply could not.

But very, very sure isn’t the same thing as absolutely sure.

I glanced at her out of the corner of my eye. “Void?” I asked quietly. “Is he-”

“And you.” Suddenly, I was hoisted into the air. Which, by the by; not a very comfortable position to be in. He’d crossed the distance between us instantly. Void jumped, but before she could react, a fist slammed into her head in a grim mirror of how she’d last hit him, and sent her flying. “You’re interesting in a very different way.”

“Great,” I said, strained. “I’ll add that to my dating profile.”

“You’re so…” he continued, looking almost intrigued, “messy.”


He laughed. “Ah, I do always forget. You can’t see, can you. You can’t sense it.”

“God,” I said, exasperated. “Could you stop being cryptic for like one fucking second?! Jesus.”

He actually seemed amused. “You’re broken,” he said, pulling me in closer, until I could see the tiny chunks of meat stuck between his yellow, uneven teeth. “All twisted and chopped up, and so very, very volatile.”

“That part won’t go on the dating profile,” I muttered.

“I must confess,” he continued, “I am so sorely tempted to show it to you. It would be beautiful. But I’m afraid that might be too much for even me.”

Some dots connected. “Wait,” I said, “Are you talking about my-”

A giant piece of rubble smashed into him from the side, so fast that the momentum didn’t affect me at all. I dropped straight down, landing heavily, and looked up to see Void standing there, panting. “Still think I’m a fraud?” she said. “Also, Skew? We’re gonna have a talk about you doubting me.”

The concrete had pinned the man against the wall, but didn’t seem to have done much to him. In fact, a second later he lifted it and tossed it aside like it weighed nothing at all. “I fail to see any other explanations,” he said, not acting injured in the slightest.

“Here’s one,” she replied. “Maybe your crazy symbols don’t work as well as you thought they did. But if you really want me to prove it…”

I’m not dumb. I dived to the side, just as she punched one fist forward. A distortion shot out of it, travelling across the space between them in an instant, and smashing into his chest. Unlike nearly everything else that we’d pulled, it actually affected him, knocking him back into the wall.

He grimaced, and exploded into his other form, but another distortion tore straight through it and forced him to revert. Frankly, I had no idea what she was doing, but it was working, so I wasn’t about to complain.

“Skew!” she yelled through gritted teeth as she kept punching, walking forward as she did. It looked like it was taking a lot out of her; she looked paler already, beads of sweat rolling down her face.

I nodded, grabbing another piece of rubble and throwing it at him. Unable to move, it actually hit his head, smacking it back against the wall with a satisfying thwack. It worked, so I kept doing it, again and again and-

Void faltered. Just for a second, but it broke the rhythm she’d had going. And he took advantage of it. In an instant, in between attacks and while my next projectile was still in the air, he flickered and disappeared.

And reappeared in front of Void with his arm punched straight through her chest. 

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