Chrono Continuum Chapter 36
In the narrow confines of the alley, Rakin did the best he could. He dropped straight down to the ground, pulling Christina down to the ground with him. The men on the other side of the alley jumped to the sides to avoid the bullet, and were successful. The leader slapped the back of his henchman's head as Rakin and Christina rose.
Rakin looked back to see the other three regrouping, and turned his head to Christina. "Christina, should we split up?"
She looked back at him. "It's Hotwire, or at least Chris. And yeah, I'll take the two up here."
Rakin nodded in agreement, and they ran to the opposite ends of the alley. One man pushed ahead of the others, and began to run toward Rakin. He yelled, and grinned, looking ready to bash in Rakin's skull. Rakin didn't give him the chance. While running, Rakin jumped up, and straightened his leg out, remembering his father's advice: Kick through, not at. There was a sharp cracking sound as his foot connected with the man's jaw, and he fell to the ground with a thud as Rakin continued his jump to land on the other side, still running toward the others. He pulled his arm back as he ran, and threw it forward as he got close enough to hit. His fist was blocked, and the man slammed his palm into Rakin's chest, hard. Rakin stepped back, winded. The man hauled back and swung at him, but Rakin ducked the blow, and came back up with and uppercut to just below the ribs. The man grunted in surprise, and Rakin took the oppurtunity to do it again. He grunted in surprise as something hit his foot from behind, and he fell to the ground. He looked up (sort of) to see the man he had kicked, standing above him with a broken grin. He yelled as the third man, now at his side, kicked his ribs viciously. Again. And then the second man grabbed him at the waist, and picked him up a foot off the ground. He swung Rakin, and released him at the end, sending him into a group of trash cans. Rakin sat up, trying to wip trash out of his eyes, and yelled in pain as he felt his hair being pulled. He opened his eyes, to see that it was the third man holding it up, and his eyes widened as the first man's beefy fist came right into his face.
Hotwire, much as Rakin, had started her part of the fight by kicking the hand of the man holding the gun, slapping it away from him and into the wall. Instead of stopping after the kick, however, she continued turning, until her back was to them, and she thrust the blunt end of her spear behind her. The man grunted as he was caught in the chest, and then she finished the turn and punched him across the face with her free hand, bringing him down. She grunted as the boss punched her with an underhand punch to the stomach, and then tried to strike her nose with his palm. Luckily for her, he managed only to hit her forehead, although it still hurt, and knocked her back a few steps. Her spear clattered to the ground as she involuntarily opened her hand. She opened her eyes, and, recovering almost instantly, slid forward a bit on one foot to catch him with a side kick to his gut. He doubled over, but she yelled out as his assistant whacked his pipe against the inside of her knee. She fell onto her side, and he jumped forward, trying to land on her. She simply put her leg out straight, and he grunted as it slammed into his chest. He fell to the ground on his face before her, and she quickly scrambled up. She yelled out again as the first man rushed forward, uppercutting her in the gut. She doubled over in pain, and he raised up his arm, and slammed his elbow down on her back, knocking her flat, face down. She cried out involuntarily as he kicked her in the ribs. He pulled his leg back to kick again, but stopped and turned his head to the other side of the alley, to where the boy was trying to fight off his three men, when the boy cried out.
Rakin, after getting kneed in the side, had heard Chris cry out, and looked over to see the man about to kick her. "No," he cried out, and absently ducked as one of the men tried to punch him in the face. He stood back up, trying to get by the man in front of him to get to the downed woman. As the man behind him tried to punch Rakin in the back of the head, he elbowed the man in the face without looking, followed by a knee to the groin of the man in front of him, which brought him down to his knees so Rakin could get by, and a kick to the knee of the other man, sending him to the ground with a grunt. All this he did while looking at the downed form of Hotwire. The men recovered, and began to attack again, at first from behind, and then surroudning him again. Seemingly without paying attention, Rakin blocked every one of their attacks, all the while, moving slowly closer to the other side of the alley.
The boss, of course, was really surprised that his men were suddenly being matched by a boy. His mouth dropped open in surprise as the boy began to glow softly, and then a strong yellow. The men noticed too, and became somewhat distracted as they continued attacking. Finally, looking as if he had had enough, Rakin simply stopped blocking, and began to walk forward, into the man before him. The man reached out to grab Rakin's throat, and passed right through, running into his comrades. Rakin continued walking hurriedly on, unfazed. The boss, frozen, just looked on as Rakin knelt before her, and reached down to roll her over. After checking to make sure she was alright, he stood, and looked down the alley, at the boss' men, now looking really frightened.
He pulled his hand back, as if he was about to throw something at them. He pulled his arm back to the front, and brought his fist down to the ground, falling to one knee in the process. The light around him focused forward, and shot out in the form of an arc of energy that ripped through the ground as it moved. A foot away from the three, the arc abruptly exploded, throwing two of the men into the surrounding walls, and the third out the alley. Rakin stood, his glow gone and turned to the leader. The man looked too terrified to back away. Rakin raised an arm, and pointed at the man with his palm. He looked down at a soft groan from Chris, and lowered his hand as well.
Chris pushed herself up a bit off the ground, slowly shaking her head, her long hair brushing against the ground. She raised her head to find herself looking into Rakin's palm. She placed her human hand in it, and Rakin pulled her up to her feet, as the man slowly began to sidle away along the wall. As she stood, she winced.
Rakin furrowed his brow in concern. "Are you alright?"
She nodded at first, and then slowly shook her head. Both their heads turned to one side of the alley, as a familiar click was heard. They saw the boss' henchman, standing at the end of the alley, with his gun pointed at them.
The boss looked to him as well. "No, man, no! Don't do it!" The man seemed not to be paying attention, or didn't care if he had heard. He had been unconscious when Rakin had taken out his pals, and knew that a gun would put the little punk back in his place.
Hotwire glanced around for some sort of shield or hiding place. The boss kept his eyes on Rakin. Rakin's eyes didn't move, but his jaw set in anger.
He raised his arm, with his palm facing out, as if he planned to catch the bullet. Yellow light began to gather about his fingers, and come together in his palm, forming into a ball that began to turn from yellow to white.
The henchman didn't know what was going on, but he'd had enough. Bracing himself, he squeezed the trigger. The boss yelled out. And Rakin released the energy. It left his hand, and filled the alley.
A wino happened to be walking by the entrance, when he was thrown back twenty feet through the window of a nearby building. In another moment, all the other windows nearby were shattered by the thunderclap made by the burst of energy spilling out of the alleyway.
Rakin stood, panting with effort, looking on his achievements. The alley behind him had three unconscious thugs, broken and singed. He looked with grim satisfaction at the area before him. Starting about a foot from where his hand had been, the ground, and both walls, were scorched clean. There was no sign that any trash cans or thugs had ever occupied this alley. He looked to his side, at Hotwire, sitting up from the pile of trash the concussion had thrown her into.
She glanced at the small-scale devastation Rakin had wrought on the alley, and gasped. She looked into his eyes, and backed away from him, against the wall. "What the Hell are you?"
Rakin smiled weakly, his vision of her starting to fade. "Hungry," he replied.
"Hungry," she repeated, not getting what he meant.
Rakin nodded, and his eyes rolled into the back of his head. He fell forward, collapsing onto Chris. She held him up, and looked about for a place to dump him. No, she thought. He's dead meat for sure if those thugs wake up. And the cops won't treat him too nice, either. Sighing, she bent over, lightly dropping him on the ground. On a side thought, she quickly picked up her spear, and flicked her wrist just right. The shaft of the staff retracted, and the blade folded in on itself. She stowed it in her sack, and turned back to Rakin. Kneeling, she placed him on her back. With a loud grunt, and some effort, she lifted him onto her shoulders, and stepped forward. She made her way out of the alley, step by step, and looked around once she had gotten to the street. She spotted an old red car, not worth enough money for a hijacker to steal, and began to walk over.
Once there, she gently set him down, and kneeled before the driver's side door. Reaching into her sack, she pulled out a piece of wire. Placing it into the lock, she twisted it and turned it for a few seconds, before she heard a slight click. She smiled and rose, putting the wire back in her sack. She pulled the handle, and the door opened with ease. Using the auto-unlock mechanism on the inside of the door, she unlocked the passenger-side door, and carried Rakin over to it. She set him down, opened it, picked him up, and pushed him in, trying to get him into a sitting position. She shut the door, and walked back to the driver's side, getting in. She closed the door with a thump, and got down onto the floorboards. Using the small retractable claw on the forefinger of her metal hand, she slit open a small hole underneath the engine. Pulling out some wires, she proceeded to cut them and splice them, until the engine began to rumble, and then got back up into her seat. She placed her hands on the wheel, and was about to push down the pedal, when she heard a voice from behind. She looked back to see a man running toward the car, obviously the owner, and pull out a gun. People in this neighborhood weren't very trusting.
The tires squealed, and Chris stayed low in her seat, as bullets broke through the back window. As an afterthought, she pulled Rakin's head onto her lap, and put the pedal to the metal.
"Man," a voice stated as Rakin's eyes opened, "when you say you're hungry, you really mean you're hungry."
Rakin turned his head back and forth, examining his surroundings. He was indoors now, in a room with a lot of... clutter. To his left was an almost exact replica of Lucca's electric lamp. Clothes were strewn haphazardly around the room. But there were extravagant touches here and there, such as the mirrors on the ceiling, which reflected Rakin, lying back under the sheets of a bed. The bed had satin sheets, yet another sign of extra money. His eyes opened in surprise, as he felt the satin against his skin, suggesting that he was disrobed, except for his underwear. He the rest of his closthes at the foot of the bed. On a nearby desk sat a white box, with a glowing piece of glass in its center, similar to the viewing screens he had seen at the Beginning of Time. On one wall was a piece of paper, showing what looked like it used to be a picture of a beautiful woman. But many of the key parts of her anatomy were blotted out by small holes. A set of darts beneath the picture told Rakin that Hotwire used the picture for target practice.
Finally, he sat up, and looked forward. A few feet away from the foot of the bed , the floor changed from carpeting to tile, and a counter separated all of the two areas but for one area, apparently for walking. By the utensils he could see here and there, he guessed that the tile-floored area was the kitchen. He couldn't see Hotwire anywhere, so continued looking around. He soon spotted an open doorway, and was about to get up and go to it, but she walked out of it instead. He whistled. Instead of the shiny clothing of earlier, she was now wearing a long night-shirt that went halfway down her thighs. Rakin couldn't really tell if she had something on under it.
She walked into the kitchen, and finished her statement as she looked through cupboards. "Yeah, when I got you home, I decided to follow your last words." Rakin didn't know what she meant, but let her continue. "I fixed up some oatmeal for you, and tried to wake you by its smell. But when I put it near your mouth, you ate it without waking. You finished off three bowls of the stuff." She finished the statement with a "hm", as she found something in the cupboard, and pulled it out. It was a carrott. She sniffed it a few times, shrugged, and bit into it with a crunch. Then she walked out of the kitchen, bringing a chair with her. She sat down on it backwards, as someone might in a bar, chewing loudly.
Rakin pulled the sheets up as he backed up, so that his back was up against the headboard. "Uh, Hotwire? Where am I, and why am I here?"
She shrugged. "Well, you said you were hungry, and I thought, 'I'll take him to my pad.' Speaking of which, welcome to Hotwire's Lovenest. When Rakin looked to the side and noticed two pairs of rope by the bed, she merely shrugged and answered his silent query with, "A girl can hope, can't she? Actually, the 'Nest is as of yet unused in its full capacity."
Rakin nodded, and asked her, "When did I say I was hungry?"
She took another bite out of the carrott, speaking as she chew. "After you beat up the punks, and killed the other two."
Rakin suddenly leaned back and hit his head on the headboard. "What!? Killed? I couldn't have done that. I mean, the last I remember was... getting beat up by the three henchmen and seeing you get hit to the ground."
She swallowed. "You sure did. I don't even know how. You just," she pointed her forefinger at him and cocked it back as if she had just fired a gun, "pow, and they were gone. I was freaked out."
A thought reoccurred to Rakin, as he pondered his apparent memory loss. "Uh, why did you take off my clothes?"
She shrugged. "Curiosity?" Rakin's eyebrows raised in surprise. She laughed. "Actually, I figured you were bruised up pretty bad, and I had some first aid on hand. Useful in my trade."
Rakin nodded, and noticed that she still wore the golden heart locket. He pointed to it, and asked, "What's that?"
She looked down. "Oh, this? It's got a picture of my mom in it. Well, it's not really a picture, but... wanna see?"
He nodded, and leaned forward. She set it down on the bed, and opened it. For a moment, nothing happened. And then it began to emit many colors of light, making a swirling mix of colors. In a moment, they started to gain shape, and appeared human in form. In another moment, details began to appear. Finally, it was finished, and a three-dimensional figure looked at Rakin. He gasped.
Hotwire looked to him. "What's wrong?" She looked back to the form, and then back at him. "Have you seen her before?"
Rakin nodded. He gulped. "Yes, I know her."
Hotwire, her eye wide, leaned forward. "You do? You've met her?"
"Yes, I know her quite well. Her name is Lucca."
"In two words: im-possible."
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