Fiction Fragment Friday
Well I didn’t get this out on Friday, but I am very happy with the story. At the risk of spoiling an element of the story it is a return to a character that I have written about a few times in the past. I don’t really have any idea where the inspiration for this particular story came from.
The world around me suddenly went silent. I was standing in a crowded convention hall surrounded by vendors, cosplayers, and fellow geeks of all types. As I glanced around, I found that conversations were still occurring I just couldn’t hear them. It seemed obvious that I was the only one who had been affected. That was extremely concerning, but I kept myself alert and did not panic. Instead, I headed for an exit into the convention center hall.
As I walked past the row of food venders, I realized that it was getting worse. I couldn’t smell the popcorn or pizza. My senses were being cut off one at a time and that could only mean that I was being attacked. If I couldn’t stop it, I would be helpless to a physical attack. I burst through the doors and ran towards the bathroom. Thankfully there was an open family restroom. That way I could lock the door behind me.
I sat down on the floor with my legs crossed and started drawing in energy. Magic senses would be the hardest to cut me off from so I knew they would go last. I sent the energy out from myself in light waves just seeing what it would hit on. I hoped to find a string of energy leading back to whoever was attacking me, but there was no string. I had a blob of dark power around me instead. No one was feeding the spell energy. It was draining my own power to use against me. That was going to complicate things considerably.
The tendrils of the dark energy blob were so entwined with my own energies it was hard to tell where it ended, and I started. My vision was almost gone so my only connection to the world was my power. I tried lashing out against the blob, but it just absorbed the energy. I tried slicing the tendrils but felt intense pain as they were connected to me. Nothing was working and at that point it was very hard to keep from panicking. That has very rarely helped any situation though.
Offense wasn’t working so I decided to switch to defense. I pulled all my remaining energy into a ball deep inside of myself. My body fell over onto the floor as I withdrew from myself. Locking it all away and holding it tight there was nothing left to fuel anything else like breathing. My essence stood there outside my body watching it die under me. In this form I could see the dark blob on my back writhing as it didn’t have anything left to eat. The only question was if it or I would die first.
Things were looking pretty bad, and I couldn’t just let things go as they were. I created a small ball of what little energy I still had left to work with and focused it across the room. The blob reached for the energy as I hoped it would. Slowly it separated itself from my body and slid toward the power. I waited until the very last moment and dissipated the energy leaving it sitting in the corner starving.
The energy form merged back into my body. The feeling is hard to describe as you reincorporate. I had to direct what energy remained to my heart and lungs to ensure they started functioning first. My consciousness moved from a state of complete awareness to nothing as it returned to an unconscious body.
Light poured in as my eyes struggled to open. I hurt everywhere and have never felt as exhausted as I was in that moment. Survival had been accomplished but was not guaranteed. Pushing a very minute wave of energy out I examined the dark blob to make sure it wasn’t moving back towards me. The thing was dissipating indicating that the spell had completed its work. Whoever cast it would likely think that I was dead because for a few brief moments they were not wrong.
Part of me wanted to try and hunt down my attacker. For a spell like what I had just encountered they had to have physically bumped into me in the convention hall. I couldn’t risk a fight around so many mundane people. Even if I was at full power there would be no way to prevent collateral damage. As it was, I was running on empty both physically and magically. A confrontation would probably be fatal to me at this point.
I stepped out into the hallway only to be picked up off my feet and tossed against the wall by a wave of air. It was in that moment that I realized that my opponent didn’t assume the spell would kill me. They knew that if I survived, I would be too weak to fight. I wasn’t dealing with an amateur. I struggled against the wind but could not move out of it.
A man in a long black trench coat stepped forward. I strained but couldn’t make out his face. It might have been my eyes still recovering or a spell to prevent him from being noticed. “As much as I was paid for this job I expected more of a challenge.”
Through intense effort I managed to get my hand into my pants pocket. “Lily, special delivery.”
A tiny pixie with long blonde hair flew out of the air vents and directly to my hand. She was so tiny that my opponent didn’t even notice her. I knew that she would be somewhere near me because I had told her to stay home. There was no way she would stay home when I went out to an event of any kind. She grabbed the tiny marble sized pouch from my hand and flew out of the wind and stayed close to the ceiling. When she was over the mysterious trench coat assailant, she opened the pouch and dumped the contents on him.
“Burn,” I said as I pushed a bit of energy out towards him. His coat went up in flames as the power Lily had dumped on him ignited. He waved his arms wildly and stumbled around until the fire alarm went off. The sprinklers burst and water came pouring down on us. With him distracted I dropped to the floor. I might have been running low on power, but I did have a number of items on me. People started to fill the halls, fleeing from the convention because of the alarms. He disappeared into the crowd and there was nothing I could do to stop him.
“I’m sorry I didn’t stay at home like you told me. It was so boring though. I wanted to see all the costumes. Then I thought you might need me.” She was speaking so fast I could barely keep up with her.
“You did great Lily. I’m just going to take a nap now.” I heard someone asking if I needed help, but I passed out before I could answer.