Cassie: Part 18

As it wrapped around my thigh, the limb felt warm and smooth, almost like plastic, but then it changed, becoming hot, painfully hot. It began to burn. I screamed, and blacked out.

And okay, that was the best thing that could have happened. “Hurt” doesn’t hold a candle to what I felt. I felt like I was nothing but pain. I felt like it was burning through the skin and into my leg.

It felt like that because that’s exactly what it was doing.

I woke to the smell of charcoal. I didn’t want to, but I opened my eyes.

I lay on the concrete floor. The best thing I could say about my leg was that it hadn’t been burned completely through, but that’s not saying much. If all I could have seen of my leg were the burned part, I might have confused it with the remains of a campfire.

Worse, I could see the skin around it. The thing must have burned two inches in.

On the bright side, if you call it a bright side, I could feel myself healing. For me, it wasn’t much of a bright side. Healed nerves could feel how badly I’d been burned.

Less than ten feet away from me, Rod fought the glowing guy, and it wasn’t going well.

His clothes were on fire in spots, and a long, red streak ran down his forearm. An uglier burn covered his right cheek. Blistered, it dripped blood.

Rod punched and missed, finding his arm wrapped in burning tentacles. Screaming, he pulled back, yanking the glowing man forward. The tentacles let go, stopping the man from falling to the floor.

Not that Rod would have been able to take advantage of it. He’d backed up, and was staring down at his forearm.

I couldn’t see it well, but looked like it had been left on the grill too long.

Anyway, I wasn’t sure what he would have been able to do even if he’d gone on the attack. If he’d hit the guy, he’d just get burned again.

I needed to help him. This was my plan. My fault that it hadn’t worked, and it looked like this guy might be able to kill Rod.

And let’s be honest, maybe me too.

While I was being honest, I had to ask myself what I thought I was going to do? Hit it with my staff? Yeah, that would help a lot. I wished for maybe the hundredth time that my sword were with me.

Trying to move my leg, I felt a twinge of pain, but it moved.

I looked at my leg again, and it was better. Not normal, but I could see new, pink skin through cracks in the charring, and the damaged part of my thigh was just as thick as the rest.

Something hit the floor behind me. I pushed myself up, discovering that the Nine’s men were following the glowing guy—not closely because they might get their faces burned off, but following.

The guy who’d whistled at me stood in front of them, fumbling for his gun.

“Hey ugly,” I said, and swung an electrified end of my staff into his crotch.

He flailed around for a second and fell on his face.

I turned around before he even hit the ground, and ran toward Rod. With a click on the button that shrank the staff, I dove, and rolled past the glowing tentacles, and came to my feet near Rod.

“Door,” I shouted at him.

A tentacle swung at me, but, I ducked and it hit the wall.

I jumped, landing in front of the door as Rod turned, crossing the same distance in a step.

Problem was, two burning tentacles hit him in the back, going through his shirt to burn his skin.

Rod bellowed in pain, and it felt like my eardrums were going to pop. Even the glowing guy took a step back—whatever a step is when you’ve got a dozen glowing legs.

Rod stumbled into the wall next to the door, hitting the ceiling with his head, and chunks of concrete fell to the floor.

Roaring, he turned back around and punched the glowing man’s body, knocking the man backwards into the Nine’s men, tentacles flying in every direction, some of them burning deeply into their bodies.

Meanwhile Rod’s roar had turned into a scream of pain.

The glowing man pulled himself up, and Rod backed away, following me back into the room.

I caught a glimpse of his hand. The first two knuckles had turned black with char, but he could still move the fingers. Well, a little.

Trolls. Scary tough.

Not tough enough though. Most of his body had burns. He went down to one knee on the floor of the lab, and changed back to normal—just a masked man in a long coat.

“What are you doing?” I asked. “You can’t do anything now.”

“Did you see me get fucking burned again and again?” He held himself up by hanging on to a desk.

So maybe he’d been hurt worse than I thought. Could Sam do something for him? If I had a second, I could have asked her.

Except I didn’t. The glowing man stepped through the door.

“This will be your only chance to surrender. Do it, or I’ll kill you where you stand.”

In my mind, a voice said, “AHEM.”

12 thoughts on “Cassie: Part 18”

  1. “WHILE YOU ARE CONSIDERING YOUR NEXT COURSE OF ACTION,” the voice continued, “PERHAPS YOU WOULD CONSIDER BUYING A SUBSCRIPTION OF BUST PLUS MUST TO ENHANCE YOUR PHYSICAL ASSETS AND PUMMEL HIM INTO SUBMISSION THAT WAY. OR ARE YOU GONNA MAN UP AND ACCEPT MY HELP ALREADY, SUGAR?”

    Just great, Cassie thought, a misogynistic alien machine.

    Also “Less that ten feet away from me, Rod fought the glowing guy, and it wasn’t going well” where that should be than.
    and
    “Anyway, I wasn’t sure what he would have been able to do even he’d gone on the attack.” particularly the “able to do even he’d” part

  2. Mazzon: Too true. I like to think most characters have the sense not to bother with them in other situations.

    PG: Thanks for the corrections. They’re fixed.

    That said, I’m often surprised by how soon you comment after I post. Bearing in mind I’m usually posting at 4am. I’m less surprised when people I know are on the other side of the world post that soon (it’s daytime). But you’re in the US, right?

  3. I have been thinking about the alien machine, and reread the past several chapters. The machine seems to have been in a low power observation made when they entered. Cassie felt it’s presence, but it was not active. It entered active mode and contacted her. My first thought was it contacted her because she is giving directions, therefore it assumes she is the leader. However the NINE would have also had people in the room who gave directions, and apparently it has not revealed itself to them. It “recognizes” her as someone worthy to follow. It offers it’s services to her. It is requesting to come under her command. It refers to Troll as her servant. Heat miser there is simply an energy manipulating hominid to the machine. This would tend to indicate it does not view Cassie as a hominid. Is Cassie”s DNA alien? Perhaps something in the process to activate her powers has changed her DNA. Whatever the case the machine views her as superior to regular, and super powered earth life forms.

    Or perhaps it is simply tired of sitting on a shelf and figured it could manipulate her to get it out of there.

    I guess we shall have to wait and see.

  4. whatever this machine is I hope Cassie says “this machine was really useful I should take it to Nick and Daniel

  5. Not bad, Christopher. Good possibilities.

    It might have also just been an assumption that Cassie was the one leading this party. I mean, before now it’s just been owned and studied by this group of scientists and guards. Not like there’s been a battle right there near it, most likely. There may have been leaders nearby, but not leading people into a fight. The use of the phrase hominid may just be for general classification without saying she’s not one, but we don’t yet know which interpretation is correct, so we’ll see.

    Kinda makes me wonder if there’s anything different if that DNA is run through the power impregnator? That’d be something, eh? Give a species a way to insert your DNA in with theirs, then make it so that a way to gain superpowers is available to most. Everyone gets superpowered, but those with the alien DNA wind up on a whole nother level. Either a conflict or natural selection (might be ok to call it unnatural selection in this case) winds up leaving those with more and more alien DNA in them until soon enough you’re looking at Abominators instead of Humans.

    As for my timing, Jim, I tend to stay up late, sometimes way more than I should. Still, I’m in Central time, and I believe the timestamps on here are Eastern.

  6. MadNinja: That’s an amusing site, and it actually makes me think a little. I’ve got to consider whether society would handle magic in a noticeably different way than other supers. it’s worth a thought.

    Christopher: You probably won’t have to wait long.

    Captain Mystic: We’ll see.

    PG: I set the blog to reflect Eastern since that’s my timezone. As you might guess, I stay up a bit too late myself. I’ve got to work on spreading out the writing instead of doing most of it at once.

  7. Sorry, I’m late, but I think the word ‘with’ is missing from this sentence near the top.

    I might have confused it the remains of a campfire.

    And it probably needs another “I” in this sentence:

    “While I was being honest, I had to ask myself what I thought was going to do? “

  8. ” In my mind, a voice said, “AHEM.”

    Good I forgot these classic cliffhangers.

    And PG – Dude, seriously, when are you going to start your own story?? Or at least ask Jim to let you do a guest spot like Robert Rodgers’?

    @Jim, – Dude, sorry about the Lions. It was a good run though.

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