She folded like she’d been punched, her hair falling into her face as she bent over.
I hadn’t killed her. I hadn’t planned to either. I’d thought the material looked like the kind my grandfather designed for the League, and then improved again and again over the years. With one shot, I’d proved my guess right.
Better than getting it wrong for sure, but I wasn’t going to dwell on that.
Then I flew completely out of the door, shooting toward the woman I’d shot, and turning invisible.
Not waiting to see the results, I dove back into the building, and grabbing Samita’s jacket I flew down the stairs, through the door, and inside.
Landing behind everybody (I’d flown through them), and turning visible, I dropped the jacket. “Sam, you said everything you needed was in here?”
They turned around, all of them with slightly different looks of surprise on their faces. Well, except for Travis. He smiled a little.
Samita recovered from her surprise quickly enough. “Not everything,” she said, “but enough for a protective circle.”
“Good because we’ll need one. Like now. They’re probably looking for me outside, but it won’t be long before they break down the door…”
“And we still haven’t figured out how to get out without making the room explode,” Travis said.
“Right,” I said, “so Sam, assume I’m going to shoot the hell out of the floor. You’ll be alright, right?”
Sam drew in a breath, barely moving her lips. “I think so.”
Travis blinked at that. “I thought you said you could.”
Sam shook her head. “I said I knew spells that might help, and I’m sure they can. I’ve never tried them in a situation like this.”
Rod met Travis’ eyes. “She gets nervous. It always works out.”
“Sam,” I waved my hand to get her attention, and got, well, everybody’s… “Do it now, and if you can block sound separately, do it first. I might not be able to watch Julie every second.”
Then I floated up a few feet. “I’m grabbing the rest of our stuff while I still can.”
From above came the sound of a solid thud with little bit of a metallic ring.
They were back to knocking the door down. It wouldn’t last long.
I shot up toward the stairway, passing over Julie. She wasn’t free, but she was rocking herself as she lay on her back, moving her shoulders.
Of course she was trying to get free. I knew she would, but, it was one more thing, you know?
I didn’t grab our stuff when I reached the top. I flew out the door again—completely invisibly that time.
I came out a little above everybody’s heads. The Blues stood next to the door—which had seen better days. Only a few scraps of it’s plywood disguise hung on around the edges. The dent in the upper half of the door had to be four inches deep. It wasn’t going to take long.
“—one more hit,” the big guy was saying to the rest of them. “I guarantee it.”
Did I have any way to delay them some more? Ideally one where I didn’t need to stay to keep it going? Something clever.
Unfortunately clever wasn’t coming.
I flew over to the front of the building—where we’d turned into the alley—and started shouting, “Greens, they’re over here!”
It was almost clever, but not very.
They all turned in the same near instantaneous, fluid motion. By the end of the turn, they all had guns in their hands, and they were all firing.
Bullets flew through where I floated, all of them accurate enough not to hit the building I floated next to. They’d guessed my location from my voice which meant they either had hearing like Travis, or hadn’t Tara said something about a kind of temporary special intelligence in combat situations?
Whatever it was, two of them came down the alley toward me, one of them looking up, the other ahead. They’d barely exchanged a word with the others.
Not wanting to find out if they had a clever idea, I dove back into the building, swooping back inside to grab the costumes and cellphones. I put my cell back into my pocket where it belonged, but I didn’t have time to put on my costume. I carried them all down the stairs.
I flew over Julie. She was still tied up.
She screamed gibberish at me through her gag. I’d learned something useful from Lee. Ok, I’d learned a lot of useful things from Lee, but I hadn’t expected to remember anything he’d told me about tying knots.
Ignoring her, I phased each piece of clothing individually through the door. Together they’d been heavy enough that I’d had to leave them in the real world while I carried them.
As I passed the last piece through, the door upstairs crashed open.
I phased through the door, watching as Travis ran for the circle. With two long strides, he stood inside it with everyone else.
The moment he was inside, Samita drew a final symbol in black permanent marker. I’d have asked her about that, but she said a word, and a shimmering blue-white light shot up at the edge of the circle.
The sound of heavy footsteps came from the stairs, and soon one of the Blues were looking through the window at me.
I phased out enough that I couldn’t hear anything. That might have been for the best because the guy at the window started talking. It was anybody’s guess what he said.
I pulled out my gun, and pointed it at the wall. “This is your last chance. Leave now, or I shoot one of the gas cans, and you go boom. We’ll be fine.”
In the back of my mind, I wondered if gas cans really exploded when they got shot. If they didn’t this was about to get even more complicated.