The battle has begun in earnest, dividing their forces.
Sweet threw water on him and his flaming knives, using the wave to flatten him. Surprised, Brian grinned. Fēng took another run at him and met his own wall of water. Brian simply took Sweet’s and diverted it. Gasping and sodden, he stood his ground. Jian regrouped, but Caleb and Sweet lashed him with bands of fire and air, slowly dragging him to the ground. Earth rose once more, called by Brian. This time, he solidified it by baking it with fire.
Fēng stood there, panting and shivering. Sweet swirled water around him, pulling it into snug tendrils, then froze it. With the two of them subdued, the four youths took a moment to catch their breath. It took only a couple seconds for Brian to realize that they weren’t fighting on purpose. Had they wanted to, both were strong enough to escape.
“Jordan!” he gasped, turning quickly.
Racing back to the house, he barely registered the fact that someone was following him.
“Sweet and Summer have it. You need me,” Caleb said. “What?”
“Jordan. Elise. Oh, Jesus!”
They raced up the front steps, in the front door and up the stairs to the master bedroom, where Brian had left Jordan and his sister. They weren’t there. With a cry like a wounded animal, Brian stopped, casting out, looking for his sister. She was easier for him to locate than Jordan because his blood called to hers. Standing in silence, he gulped.
“River. She’s taken Elise to the river.”
“Lien. She’s got my sister.”
“What about Jordan?”
“I don’t know. But she’s got Elise.”
He made a quick choice. Jordan was strong, trained. Elise was a baby. Chest aching with dread, he ran to the river, searching for the baby. He heard her before he saw them. Elise was screaming hysterically. He heard Lien’s voice, quietly cajoling.
“It’s all right, baby. Your brother will be here soon. I’ll kill him and it will all be over.”
Elise’s screams turned from fear to anger. “No!” Barely a year old, she didn’t talk much, but that word came through loud and clear. “No!”
A gust of wind rattled the trees, making the grass dance. Earth shook, rattling the boys as they approached. “No!” The wind became a gale which, strangely, barely raised the hair on their heads. The trees shook, twisting in the wind as it crashed through their branches.
Brian crept closer, less affected by the wind than Caleb. Peering through a gap, he saw his sister, standing protectively by Jordan. She was down, a gash in her forehead. It oozed blood. Face pale, she was breathing, and Brian could see her struggling to rise.
“No!” Elise screeched again. “You! No!” Her little hand pointed at Lien, making a slashing motion. The wind sliced across the girl like a knife. A punch with the other tiny fist knocked the Asian girl flat on her ass.
Brian leaped through the gap, landing nearly on top of Lien. She tripped him, but he caught himself on a cloud of air. Snakelike tendrils of water slipped past him and he saw that Jordan was up. Earth shook, trying to knock her down, but Caleb slapped Lien with a wave of freezing water, taking some of the fight out of her.
Elise toddled over, pointing a finger at Lien. “No!” she said very softly, rather like her father when he was furious. The ground rose like ropes, slithering around Lien’s body, pulling tightly. She couldn’t move, but she could speak. Yelling curses—real ones—she tried to free herself. Tired of the noise, Jordan slapped a handful of dirt into her mouth, sealing it shut.
“Shut up, you bitch!” She picked up the baby, holding her close.
Elise touched Jordan’s lips, smiling, and fell unconcsious. Rather than worried, Jordan looked proud.
“Take out the garbage,” she told the boys. “I need to get her home.” Picking her way carefully through the woods, she made her way back to the house.
“Lady, I don’t know what you are,” Brian said. “But no!” He knocked her unconscious by drawing the air from her lungs. But something kept him from killing a downed warrior.
“What is she?” Caleb asked.
“Maybe I can help,” a familiar voice said behind them. It was Scott.
“Where have you been? I thought you’d already be here.”
“Got hung up. Her doing, I imagine. I’ll explain later.”
“Fine. You guys?”
“Been worse,” Brian said with a harsh laugh.
“Good bind her well with ropes of air.”
© 2018 Dellani Oakes