Running for Fire: Chapter 2

I’m guessing I need to explain right? Let me get some things straight. I don’t have permanent butterfly wings sticking out of my back, and yes, I do have arms. I have, what’s the word? Retractable wings I guess. Because I can make them appear or disappear at will. They are definitely not butterfly wings, either. Each one is a mixture of feathers subtly turning into scales, and they are inky purple, or inky blue. They are strong, too. Incredibly strong and agile and fast.  This is why I need a big room, so that I can practice. It sounds stupid and weird and childish and pathetic and all of that crap, but I had to except it long ago, and if I hadn’t grown up in Metropolis, I would have probably died.

Let’s be honest, my wings are kind of badass.

I have had to put up with being slightly different to the other three, and that’s okay, I have dealt with it up to now, I can carry on dealing with it.

I was curled on the platform, trying to make myself as small as possible. There were lots of platforms like this one dotted up the walls, at different intervals. I was 12, my hair longer and purple, as I had dyed it.

Footsteps echoed into the chamber. “Tallie?” Cas’ voice called. “Tallie I know you are up there.”

“You can go, Cas, I’m fine.” Damn it my voice broke. Weakling.

“Look I know that arsehats’ words got to you, but you know that they aren’t true right? It’s not like his opinion matters anyway, he was just a stupid caretaker.”

“I know, Cas, I’m fine.”

“If you don’t come down I am going to sing really loudly.”

“Cas, don’t-”

“DON’T WANT TO BE AN AMERICAN IDIOT”

“Cas shut up it’s like midnight!”

“ONE NATION CONTROLLED BY THE MEDIA!”

“Oh for god’s sake!” I jumped up uncurling my wings and flying straight into him so we were sprawled on the mat before he could yell another line. Rolling off him, we scrambled to our feet, laughing.

“American Idiot? Really?” I asked, laughing. Together we walked, side by side, out of the room and down the corridor.

“Don’t you DARE dis Green Day!” He said, mock-glaring at me.

“Hey, relax dude, I would NEVER dis Green Day.” I laughed elbowing him in the stomach as we walked.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” He turned, stopping, and put a hand on each of my shoulders, forcing me to look at him. I meet his gaze.

“I’m okay… now. It just… he just said what I worry you are all thinking.” I finish quietly, looking down.

“Tal! You honestly think that any of us have even had the thought that you are a monster, or unnatural? We all love you Tallie, and you are amazing. Yeah?” He says, laughing slightly.

“I’m pretty sure it is very rain to agree to that.” I mumble, trying to hide the fact I am blushing.

“Go for it.” He grins.

“Go on then- I wholeheartedly agree with your statement and fully believe that I am amazing!” I shouted in my most pompous voice, laughing hysterically afterwards.

“Don’t you forget it.” Says Cas, laughing to.

Cas liked my wings, when I confessed to him later that they made me feel isolated, he told me that I shouldn’t think of them as separate. They were part of me, just extra limbs, and I had to except them as that, because they weren’t going away.  He told me that he, nor the other two had ever thought me as different, and probably never would. We never judged anyone, we still don’t.  We know what it is like to be judged on sight.

Growing up in Metropolis was an, amazing, if not eccentric upbringing. We were not taught math or German, but were taught how to break into high security buildings.  We were always training, either in our rooms, the gym or the meditation room.  To start with, I had to meditate on my own, because I tended to set fire to things as I did. Like Pete’s’ trousers.

Good Times.

I wish more than anything we could be back there, we are all 16, and I wanted to finish my childhood. I wanted to stay up all night, set fire to any work that came my way, learn how to drive a moped in the corridors. All the things that made me, me. We would survive, the four of us. We were a pretty kick ass opponent, to be fair.  Like Jay always said, “The main reason you are powerful is not due to your abilities, but to the fact that you are together, and love each other, and each of you value the others’ lives before your own. Stay together; stay strong, stay safe.”

That was the last thing he ever said to us.

If Mel was our anchor, Jay was our steering system. He was our guide, or tutor, out teacher, our friend. He ran Metropolis on love and trust, not war and greed. He had four of the best weapons in the world at his hands, yet he did not use us. He respected us in a way that made us respect him. He wasn’t quite our dad, but he was perhaps our uncle. He made up for both of our parents for all of us in all the ways that matter. I don’t know what we would have done without him.

We need him now.

We are doing as he said, following the plan that we know so well, what to do if Metropolis falls. We run. We hide. We survive. We don’t go to major cities but nor to rural areas. Towns, large villages, that sort of thing.

And we keep running.

We run until we are found. If it is by Metropolis, we are safe, plan succeeded. If it is by TJP, we fight. They are not difficult instructions to understand, but they are difficult to do. I always thought I would love it, the running, but it’s so scary, so absolutely terrifying that I start to wonder how much power we actually have. Every shadow, every person, every car whizzing fast is unsafe. Jay would tell us to use our fear as a weapon, use our paranoia to keep us on edge, keep us on the look-out. So that is what we will do. Us four, we don’t follow rules. We don’t follow the laws of science, or the laws of the country. But we do follow Jay’s rules, because he has done enough, more than enough, to earn our undying trust in him. And he has created our undying trust in each other.

Metropolis is a top secret part of the World Government, which is something most people know nothing about. The World Government isn’t perfect, nothing is. Some bits of it are corrupted and exploiting. Other parts of it are clever and healing. Metropolis is trying to sort out the world’s problems, but they do not have as much authority as they deserve. We weren’t told everything, there are some gaping holes in our knowledge, but we have dealt with that our whole lives. It’s okay. We have each other, we always have. Me and Mel, Cas and Pete. Closer than siblings.

So we keep running, keep hiding, keep fighting, keep pushing forwards, because that is what is right, that is what Jay wants us to do. He wants us safe, free and happy. Safe from the TJP, who want us to be weapons of mass destruction, as we are. This isn’t a war, this is a fight for freedom, we don’t want to be medical experiments, and we don’t want to be weapons. We want lives, we want to run, but to run towards something, not to run because we are being chased. That is what Metropolis is fighting for, fighting for us, keeping us safe. It had plans and ideas about how to change the world, how to fix the gaping cracks in word societies.  They are fighting for change, and so are we. We are not the only subject of Metropolis, Metropolis is fighting for peace and safety. And if that means running, if that means hiding, then that’s what we’ll do. Because for a long time, Metropolis has not been fighting for us, but with us.

And so we run.

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