8.10 Noisy Rooms/The Defenestration of Border, KS

by Matt P.

Every human being knows, in the deep and dark and primal places of their brain, a certain set of feelings and smells. After the first time the brain learns to associate a stimuli with an ancient and primitive fear, he never forgets it. Fire is the most common, the smell of smoke and the feeling brought by waves of prickly heat. But electricity is a close second, born of the terrifying nights when the gods themselves seemed to vent their fury upon the landscape. Ozone and crackling lights, the hallmarks of that primal fear, filled the disused Stargate room of Dwight D. Eisenhower High School, and a faerie lord collapsed to the floor grabbing at his most sensitive area.

Walter turned and pulled out his backup weapon left-handed as he kept his hand on the Taser. He knew that he had a cycle time of about thirty seconds, and then—

Before he could finish the thought, and before anyone should have been able to react (even with his quip), he was bowled in to by a burly man wearing a leather jacket. The breath left his body with an ‘oof’ of expulsion as the two of them crashed down on to a cardboard box filled with old textbooks. They scattered across the dusty and tracked floor, both men and all the books, mingling with the crackling of the Taser to form an odd symphony.

“Go!” The faerie nobleman grunted as he, with great efforts, yanked the leads out of his chest. He was about to snarl something else when Tania Summers hit him like an oncoming freight train, with a roundhouse to the side of the face that probably would have killed a mortal. Walter saw it flash by as the man who had jumped him tried to crawl on top of him and grab him by the neck. With training and instinct alone Walter was able to push his arms away and roll, twisting his body and hips with every bit of leverage he possibly could to end up on top. He managed to do it and tried to bring his gun to bear on the other man, only to find that the gun had gone scattering in their tumble. He turned the motion into a punch that cracked the other man in the nose, although he knew it was a particularly ineffective one. He drew his hand back for another try, but a strong hand closed around his arm and hauled him back. It didn’t stop hauling, although at some point the haul became a throw and Walter found himself once again sprawling across the floor and grunting.

“I think we missed some of them.” Morgan offered helpfully as two faerie men started, literally, out of the shadows in the room and began moving menacingly to reinforce their boss. Seeing them Tania stepped back to face them squarely, and Morgan moved up beside her to stand shoulder to shoulder. Neither of them looked particularly concerned about the three to two odds, although Walter was certainly less sanguine about the overall four to three odds if they counted him and his current target.

“Who the hell are you?” The nobleman, who Tennyson had called an Earl, asked angrily as his men helped him to his feet. He rubbed his jaw, which had already blossomed into a magnificent bruise that was also already fading—a point which seemed tremendously unfair, as Walter’s shoulder hurt. He and his opponent eyed each other as the Earl advanced toward the sisters. “And how the hell did you hit so hard.”

“Two little girls from school are we.” Morgan said sweetly, as she looked between the three advancing men. In her hand what Walter had thought was a little bit of perspiration began to form more aggressively. But rather than dripping off her hand it collected into a slowly growing icicle, before sharpening into a solid spike of ice menacingly wrapped around her hand. “Bitch.” She finished, holding up her improvised weapon. Tania held up her hands and snapped, which apparently caused them to be wreathed in crimson flames that lit up the room and sent the shadows fleeing from the corners of the rooms.

The Earl considered those weapons nonplussed. “You shouldn’t be able to do that, without me knowing who you are. You shouldn’t be that powerful.” He offered almost conversationally, which drew a shrug from both girls.

“We’re not particularly interested in what we shouldn’t been able to do, my lord.” Morgan offered with a friendly smile. “We’re interested in whether or not you will come with us, or we’ll have to take you in pieces.” The spike in Morgan’s hand slowly grew longer, and her smile grew fiercer. “Think what else we shouldn’t be able to do—it will make it more fun when we can.”

The Earl looked at them as if considering for a moment before he looked to his two guards. “Tell the pair downstairs to start killing the children. That should keep them distracted.” What had been a still moment, a stand-off between the two groups, turned suddenly to violent motion and desperate speed. The two men with the Earl bolted in opposite directions to move around Morgan and Tania, while the Earl spun on his heel and bolted. At the other end of the room was a large window, and in the space of two heartbeats he was at it, and before the next heartbeat he was crashing through it with the discordant symphony of shattering glass.

“Balls!” Walter cursed loudly, starting to turn to run downstairs.

“No, Walter, we need to go get the Earl!” Morgan shouted in return, moving forward quickly to reach out and grab him by the arm. Her grip was strong and firm, without hesitation.

“Morgan, Antigone and Siobhan are down there, I’m not leaving them!” Walter shot back in a voice that was every bit as firm as her grip. Morgan’s eyes flicked over to Tania, who gave a nod and began to move toward the door and the exit back to the rest of the school.

“She’ll handle it, but I need you to help me catch the Earl.” Morgan said. “Tania is…very, very good.” She reassured, before her voice took on an edge of strain again. “And we’ve got no time!” When despite being torn he gave a little bit of a nod, Morgan started to move again.

“How are we going to get out to him?” Walter asked, before he felt Morgan grab him around the waist. His question was answered a moment later when Morgan leapt in to the air toward the broken window and the parking lot beyond, carrying him with her.