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THE EARTH GIVES WAY TO THE SEA,
THE SEA BOWS BEFORE THE WIND,
THE WIND FEEDS THE FLAME,
THE FLAME BURNS THE WORLD OF MAN DOWN TO THE EARTH.
The sleepy town of White Halls harbors a dangerous secret. On a picturesque street, two houses down from a lovely little park, in a quaint little home with a wraparound porch, lives a family that seems rather normal. Sure, their twenty-year-old son, Xander, still lives at home, but he’s going to college and dating the leader of the schools top sorority. It’s all very… normal. However, when a man is miraculously saved from being hit by a bus, Xander’s life turns in to the living embodiment of the tornadoes he can suddenly create with a flick of his wrist. Whether he wants this gift or not, Xander must learn to use his new ‘super power’ quickly if he wants to survive. For his kind is a dying race, and when this sleepy town has a sudden influx of new, blonde, fire wielders, no one is safe, especially Xander. It doesn’t help that one of these blondes happens to be the most beautiful girl he has ever seen. Xander can’t deny the instant connection he feels to her so, when she tries to kill him, it certainly makes things complicated.
Sean pulled back the curtain and glanced outside the window for the hundredth time that day. Nothing obscured his view of the parking lot and the road beyond. Despite the densely parked cars in the parking lot, he saw no sign of the blonde haired fire wielders who had attacked him and Jessica. The strangers seemed to have gone as they came.
He let go of the curtain and let it fall back into place. Though it seemed as though the Fire Warriors hadn’t followed him to his apartment, Sean refused to let go of the nervous breath he was holding.
After all the time that had passed since the fire in the park near Xander’s house, no one had heard from his best friend. On the few rare occasions in which Sean ventured out from his apartment, he had asked some of Xander’s former classmates if they had seen him, which none had. He hadn’t been to the school nor returned to his parent’s home. His friend had, for all intents and purposed, vanished.
Pushing himself off the couch, Sean walked toward the kitchen. His refrigerator was running dangerously low of food but there was always food to make into a decent snack. He knew the jokes Xander would make about eating as a nervous habit but Sean felt justified in being nervous.
As he opened the refrigerator and started pulling out lunchmeat, he heard a gentle knock on the door. He froze, his hand unmoving around the plastic turkey container.
“Go away,” he whispered into the room.
He didn’t know who was at the door but he honestly didn’t care. He doubted Xander would knock so gingerly and no one else would be bringing him good news.
Sean slid the turkey package out of the refrigerator as quietly as possible and softly closed the door. Logically, he knew that the person on the other side of the door couldn’t hear his refrigerator closing. Normal people couldn’t hear that, he had to remind himself. His best friend could control the wind. The people that were hunting him could throw fire from their hands. There was no telling if super hearing was another of their hidden super powers.
As he reached toward the stack of bread, the same person knocked again at the door. Glancing around nervously, his eyes fell on the bottle opener magnet hanging from the fridge. Sean pulled it off the fridge and held it in front of him defensively. He left the kitchen and walked toward the door.
When the person knocked for the third time, it seemed far more insistent.
“Who’s there?” Sean asked, trying to force some mock confidence into his voice.
Sean visibly sagged with disappointment. He almost wished it were one of the Fire Warriors.
“What do you want?”
“Can you open the door?” she said pleadingly. “Please?”
Sean sighed as he reached out and unlocked the door. As he pulled the door open, he was surprised to see a fairly disheveled Jessica standing before him. Loose tendrils from her shoddy ponytail hung over her face. She didn’t seem to be wearing any makeup, aside from the obvious lip gloss that caused the unnatural shine on her lips. She wore a loose-fitting blouse that was heavily wrinkled. Sean couldn’t remember ever seeing her looking anything less than fully composed. Despite her obviously harried expression, she still found the reserve to frown at her nemesis.
“Sean,” she said.
“Wicked Witch of the West.”
She opened her mouth to offer a sharp retort but quickly thought better.
“What are you doing here?” he asked.
“I didn’t know where else to go,” she admitted sheepishly.
“You didn’t have GPS on your broom?”
Jessica smiled humorlessly. “Are you done?”
“Not by a long shot,” he replied.
“Go ahead. Get them all out of your system.”
“You figured the inside of my apartment would keep you out of the life-ending rain? Your flying monkeys ran out of likely candidates to kidnap? You do realize I don’t even have a dog named Toto, right?”
“Can I please come in now?” Something in her voice caught Sean off guard and the humor seemed to bleed out of the situation. He nodded and stepped out of the way.
As she entered the apartment, he closed and locked the door behind her.
She walked a few steps inside before turning toward him. Glancing down, she noticed the bottle opener in his hand.
“What’s that for?”
Sean looked down and seemed equally surprised to see it still clutched in his hand. “I don’t know. I figured I could stab someone with it if I had to.”
“You got that from the kitchen?” she asked. “Why didn’t you just get a knife?”
Sean was genuinely dumbfounded by the question, especially since he didn’t have a logical answer. He tossed the bottle opener onto the couch angrily.
“Shut up. You still haven’t even told me why you’re here.”
“I told you, I didn’t know where else to go. I’ve been totally freaked out ever since the other night. I’ve barely slept. I’ve barely eaten.” Her voice lowered to a soft whisper. “I think one of those blonde guys has been following me.”
“And you came here?” Sean yelled before throwing a hand over his mouth to silence himself.
“You came here?” he said again in a harsh whisper.
“I told you. I didn’t know where else to go. No one else would believe me if I told them some guy set my car on fire using only his hands. You have no idea how hard it was to explain what happened to my car to my dad. I had to give him some totally crazy story about a drunk homeless guy.”
Sean stormed past her before pausing in the doorway to the kitchen. “Did you even stop to consider what would happen if you really were being followed? You could have led them right to me!”
“Oh, yeah Sean. You’re practically 007. Everyone’s trying to hunt…”
The words faded from her lips as someone knocked on the door. The stern knock was the complete antithesis to Jessica’s soft knocking from earlier.
Jessica started to whimper but Sean stepped forward and clamped his hand down over her mouth.
“Stay quiet,” he whispered.
Sean slipped past her and eased his way to the door. Leaning forward, he glanced out the peephole. The man on the other side of the door was unmistakable. His close-cropped blonde hair and dark leather tunic looked identical to the man that tried to kill Sean at Xander’s house.
“Is it?” Jessica asked, leaving the end of question hanging.
Sean nodded as he inched his way back to her. The Fire Warrior banged loudly again on the door.
“Let’s just not answer,” she offered. “He’ll go away eventually, right?”
“He followed you here, remember? If he wants in, he’ll just burn the door down.”
“Then what to do we do?”
Sean stroked his hairless chin. “You’re going to open the door.”
“Oh no, I’m not!” she replied sternly. Jessica placed her hands on her hips and flipped the few hanging tendrils of her blonde hair out of her face. “If you want the door open, you’ll have to be a big boy and do it yourself.”
Sean frowned. “You’re going to open the door so that I can attack him. Unless you want to attack him, that is.”
Jessica quickly shook her head. “No, that’s fine. I’ll get the door.”
Sean disappeared into the kitchen as Jessica moved to the door.
“Ready?” she asked.
Sean leaned around the corner and nodded. She held up three fingers and silently counted down. When she dropped the last finger, she unlocked the door and threw it open.
The Fire Warrior on the other side seemed temporarily startled. He quickly overcame his surprise and stepped into the room, chasing after the retreating Jessica.
She stumbled backward and fell into the middle of the room. The tears already threatened to fall down her face as she stared at the frightening warrior entering the room.
The Fire Warrior smiled wickedly and extended his hand. The tips of his fingers ignited as flames danced over his hand.
“Sean?” Jessica sobbed.
“Here I am,” he replied, stepping through the kitchen door. He held up the large red cylinder in his hands and pointed the nozzle at the confused Fire Warrior.
“Suck on this, dude.”
Sean squeezed the handle to the fire extinguisher and the far end of the room was consumed in white powder. The cloud sprayed over the Fire Warrior, extinguishing the flames on his hand, as he was covered head to toe in white foam. Sean held down the handle until the small extinguisher ran dry and sputtered in his hand. As the cloud settled, the entire room was coated in white foam, to include an undignified Jessica who sat sputtering on the floor.
The Fire Warrior coughed loudly as he seemed frozen in confusion. Sean paused, realizing that he hadn’t thought through his plan beyond spraying the man with the extinguisher. Despite him being coated in inflammable foam, Sean was still facing a vastly physically superior man.
“I really didn’t think this through,” he muttered as the Fire Warrior reclaimed his wits and stormed toward Sean.
Sean gulped and dropped the extinguisher, as though releasing the weapon would alleviate him of the blame.
The warrior reached Sean in a few large strides and grabbed him by his shirt. Despite Sean’s weight, the Fire Warrior lifted him from his feet and pinned him against the wall.
“Can’t we talk about this?” Sean said meekly.
The blonde warrior merely growled at him. The Fire Warrior leaned in, his nose mere inches away from Sean’s face. Sean could practically see the fire burning behind his dark eyes.
A hollow thud suddenly echoed through the room. The smoldering glare in the warrior’s eyes disappeared as his eyes rolled up into his head. The Fire Warrior pitched to the side, his arms going limp and releasing Sean in the process.
Jessica stood behind the warrior, clinging to the extinguisher like a club. She looked nervously at the unconscious Fire Warrior.
“You think he’s going to be okay?” she asked.
“Who cares,” Sean replied, laughing nervously.
Jessica dropped the extinguisher and smiled weakly. Sean returned the smile before spreading his arms and motioning her forward.
“You did great,” he said as they hugged one another in relief.
For a long moment, they stood straddling the unconscious blonde man, embraced in each other’s arms. Suddenly, as though remembering her surroundings, Jessica stiffened.
“You know that we’re only hugging because I’m so relieved to still be alive, right? Nothing more?”
Sean nodded quickly. “Of course. Sure.”
“I mean,” she continued, “if it weren’t for the fact that someone just tried to kill us, we wouldn’t even be caught dead in the same room, right?”
“Sure,” he said softly as he took in the smell of her hair cascading past his face.
She paused and turned her face toward him. “Did you just smell my hair?”
Sean arched an eyebrow as his face flushed in embarrassment. “No, no, of course not,” he laughed nervously. “That would have been weird!”
“This moment’s over,” she said sternly, pushing him back.
As they separated, Sean inadvertently kicked the unconscious Fire Warrior. The man groaned softly. The pair looked at each other again, suddenly remembering what brought them together in the first place.
“What are we going to do about him?” she asked.
Sean shrugged. “I guess we tie him up?”
“He makes fire out of the air, Sean. What’s to stop him from just burning through his ropes?”
“Then we put him in the shower?” he offered. Her withering stare ended that train of thought. “No, you’re right. That was a stupid idea.”
Jessica shrugged. “Yeah, but I don’t really have a better one.”
About the author
Jon Messenger (Born 1979 in London, England) serves as an United States Army Captain in the Medical Service Corps. Since graduating from the University of Southern California in 2002, writing Science Fiction has remained his passion, a passion that has continued through two deployments to Iraq, a humanitarian relief mission to Haiti, and an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. Jon wrote the "Brink of Distinction" trilogy, of which "Burden of Sisyphus" is the first book, while serving a 16-month deployment in Baghdad, Iraq.Wind Warrior is Jon Messenger's break through novel published through Clean Teen Publishing.
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Until the next time,
PS. This was the last post in CTP week. I was happy to host it here. Tomorrow our posts will be up.