The house sat just off Lake Street. It was big — not Hardwick House big, but eighteenth century “big enough for a family of eight, plus servants” big.
I’d heard somewhere that back then, people built the larger houses on main roads, and at the ends of side streets just off the main roads. It was easier to catch the trolley that way, making the houses more desirable, and thus they were built for people who were better off.
Sometime between now and then, that changed. Houses near factories, warehouses, and moving freight trains weren’t for people with money anymore.
Not to mention the fact that Grand Lake hadn’t had a working trolley system in ninety years.
Anyway, whatever family had had the house built probably wouldn’t have recognized the place. Other owners had subdivided it into apartments, rented it to anyone who could pay the deposit, and painted it purple.
It could have looked nice. Two stories tall, it had big windows, took up as much space as the two houses next to it, and had a wide porch that stretched the length of the front. At the same time, the front yard had big spots of dirt surrounded by grass and weeds. While flying there, I’d noticed that most of the back yard had been turned into a parking lot for the residents.
Even in the twilight, the house didn’t look good.
Interestingly, it was the worst looking house on the block. Despite the factories, the rest of that neighborhood had been kept up. I’d noticed grills, swing sets in backyards, and some newer cars when I’d been flying over.
It made me worry a little bit though. What happened if the people inside came out with guns blazing, spraying bullets everywhere? Houses weren’t bulletproof.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to do anything about it.
Smoke followed them out.
They started firing at Cassie as one, and she put her head down below the top of the windscreen. Bullets bounced off it, ricocheting into the yard, but not for very long.
Bolts of red lightning rained down on them from the sky, making their bodies jerk spastically as they fell.
If it had ended there, the plan would have worked perfectly.
+++They’re going out all at once!+++
From Jaclyn’s side of the house came the snap and crash of boards breaking. On other side, glass shattered.
We knew what we had to cover. Red Legacy went to help Jaclyn. Vaughn and I flew toward the side with shattered glass. Daniel stayed in place, observing who needed help most, ready to pass information along to Cassie and Shannon.
I descended as Vaughn sent a blast of white lightning down toward the people jumping out of the window, appearing only as they left Shannon’s wall of darkness.
There were six of them. Just like the people in front, they wore black body armor, and carried sub-machine guns. I recognized the guy with burning hands.
They were well trained. Despite the lightning, they kept calm and aimed their guns upward — well, except for one guy.
A pudgy, red haired man raised up his hand, and drew the lightning in.
It wrapped around his arm from all directions and disappeared.
The bullets hit me, and I felt them, but I dropped until I touched the ground. Then I fired a blast of the sonics.
That stopped the bullets for a moment. I took advantage of it to punch a couple people in the face.
They went down.
The pudgy, guy pointed his hand at me, and electricity bridged the gap between us. Of course, if Grandpa had designed the suit to handle anything, he’d designed it to handle lightning.
I blasted away with the sonics, hoping the noise would distract him long enough.
He held his hands up, blocking his face, and then sent back a less powerful version of my own sonic wail. It didn’t hurt me, but something else did.
The guy with the burning hands ran up and grabbed my right forearm where the sonic device hung. The heat became instantly painful. Meanwhile a red dot in the helmet readouts warned me that I risked losing suit integrity. Then it told me I’d just lost the right arm sonic.
Better that than my arm.
I dug my encased fingers into the palm of my left gauntlet, pressing the button that engaged the rocketpack, and shot upward. He hung on until he got five feet into the air.
Then he dropped.
Wind hit the group of them near where I’d been, knocking them to the ground, and pushing me toward the front of the house.
I became level with the house’s roof soon afterward, finding Vaughn standing on the edge.
For a moment, I thought the wind he’d created would take care of them. One of them tried to stand, it blew him ten feet before he stretched out, and lay on the ground. They couldn’t fire their guns, and even if they did, the bullets wouldn’t have flown straight.
Engaging the helmet’s speaker, I shouted, “Put down your weapons.”
They didn’t. The pudgy guy grabbed the leg of the guy with the burning hands. The man raised his right hand, and suddenly I could feel heat and see the helmet readout of the temperature climb.
Vaughn flew backwards, away from the edge, as that side of the house burst into flame.
I followed, mentally adding “energy absorption” and “energy boost” to the list of powers I didn’t much like.