An angry voice rang out behind her beckoning for her attention. Death slowly about faced around to face the culprit in the face, only to find herself being pleasantly surprised. Death was extremely amused upon learning the woman she was with throughout that whole ordeal was a Special as well. She tried to keep a straight face in front of her henchmen but the laughter couldn’t be stifled for much longer. Her dry chuckle came rolling out as if she just witness some comedic routine. “Oh that is too cute,” she said. The laughter came to a dead halt soon after she spoke. “You’re going to do what now?” Her tongue pushed against the inside of her cheek as she gauged the woman in front of her. She wasn’t like the typical pyrokinetic as far as she could tell. On some level, Death was impressed by how quickly Kiara jumped to use her powers to defend herself. Anybody who wasn’t shy to use their abilities was good in her book, but one look in Kiara’s eyes was all it took to tell her that she wasn’t the right fit for the Rogues.
“Boys,” she said in a chillingly calm voice. “Put your guns up. We’re going to roast ourself a pretty carny.” Her lips curled up into a cruel smirk. It was a shame that she would have to kill Kiara seeing how she was so nice both inside and outside the nightmare, but that was what turned Death away from recruiting her. She was kind butthat kindness was going to be her downfall. Out of courtesy, Death would have preferred to be the one to kill her but since the woman could control fire and could attack from a long range, she didn’t want to risk her neck. Instead, she was willing to risk the other members’. They weren’t exactly her favorite bunch but at least they were powerful. Powerful… But still expendable.
The whinny of a horse was then heard in the distance and a white horse emerged from the horizon. “There’s my ride,” she looked back at the woman with the glowing hands and offered her a sympathetic smile. She quickly mounted the horse behind its rider, who was also a long time friend. “Death came to your door and you welcomed her in. That was your mistake.”
Ah. So she had been nuts. Kiara always had a knack for picking out the worst of them-those that were broken, needed some sort of grounding. In Samuel’s case, she had not been too late. She had been his second chance. Yet here, with this brunette before her, Kiara found herself at a loss. There was no hope of change there. She was too lost, too enveloped in her own delusion of a chaotic reality that Kiara did not think it even feasible to attempt to intervene-with her, at least. But all these others around her? They wouldn’t stand a chance in the wake of the phoenix. Her eyes focused on the woman once again, and her angered look remained fixed in place on her face. “You’d better run, sister. In death I will only rise.”
Blue eyes remained on the pale horse and its rider as it was consumed by the night. And just like that, Kiara was consigned to her fate. This carnival, this family, had become her life. Noel. Her cousin-young, cocky, but there was good buried within that she always managed to dig through to. He held a special place in her heart. Ryan. A wondrous performer, and a truly good soul. She had been there for him when he needed someone to lean on, and she had always done so without question. He was family, a part of the carnival, and she would have always done anything for any of them. That was why she was standing there now, in this position. Nico. There had always been several possibilities. That was life-a jumble of possibilities, altered by the choices you make. His choices had taken him from the carnival, but never from the family nor their hearts. He was someone Kiara trusted, and that was rare these days. With him leaving to serve PROTECT, Kiara found herself giving him even more respect than she thought to be possible. He was standing up for he believed in. As was she, here in this moment.
She stood there for love.
Samuel. A chance walk, in his company and in Sophia’s. A random encounter, dancing in the rain. A bright cherry red, that helped bring the carnival back to life, sign by sign. A smile. A stolen glance. A skipped heartbeat (or two…or ten). A dinner for two, under the bright starlight. A tour. A baptism-a rebirth. A family. A night in her place…a sweaty night. A new home. A new chance. A changed outlook. A changed self. A big fight. A heartfelt breakthrough. A happy life. A happy proposal. A purpose. A large event. And now, a confrontation. Samuel…good God, please forgive me.
Without another word, the two sides struck at one another. Shots were fired towards the phoenix, but she took to her home in the skies. Fires of bright oranges and scorching yellows rained down upon them, as the reckoning that the horsemen hoped to bring was unleashed (for at least this moment) on them, rather than the other way around. Their shots were for naught, and being preoccupied with their weapons left them defenseless.
They were at the mercy of the phoenix.
One by one, fire consumed those henchmen. They cried out, burned, as Kiara swept down faster than they could aim to unleash more fire upon them. The firefight continued for what felt like an eternity, but truly lasted only a matter of a few minutes. In that short time frame, Kiara’s energy was devoured. All of this following the nightmare was truly exhausting. But she had to push herself-she had to protect the carnival. The last man watched her for a time, letting her fly while he dodged the fire attacks. He was able to see the strain on her face, and noted the slowing speed of her flight. While ducking down to avoid the seeking flames, he readied his gun. When she withdrew to the sky again, he stood quickly and aimed.
The shot hit its mark. She let out a cry as the bullet dug into her side, and fell towards the ground. A last burst of adrenaline kicked in, however. The intensity of her fire increased exponentially, and lit up like a fire burning the very sky. The flames enveloped every inch of her body, from the tips of her fingers down to her very toes. The orange flames stretched and stretched across the sky, as pain took her over. There was no control, there was only the fire to deal with the burn. The phoenix flew down to the ground and fired at the last remaining henchman. He burned and fell, just like the rest had. Kiara landed weakly on her feet. Her knees buckled, and she fell to the ground. As she struggled for air, staring up at the sky, an ache came into her heart. Just yards away were the people she loved, yet here she was, alone in the dark to die. But it was best that way, wasn’t it? She wouldn’t want them to see, and hoped that none found her if she wasn’t reborn. She simply hoped the poetry of the scenario would be enough to help them with the change, in whatever form it came with.
Her eyes froze open when her last breath left. A quiet stillness came to the surrounding air. Perhaps the Earth that Samuel moved at his command was grieving the loss of the burning fire that had stolen his heart. A small spark came from one frozen finger, and then a gentle fire spread over her body, burning it to ashes. Yet once the fire settled, movement could be seen within the charred remains. A young girl stood-bright blue eyes wide open with confusion, long brown hair tousled and tangled. She shivered in the cool night air and darted forward on uncertain legs. Where was she? Why was it so cold…so lonely? The reborn phoenix ran ahead and plucked up a deserted jacket, from one of the henchman. She wrapped it around her small body and turned, towards the sound of others. Only a few thoughts were in her small head. Carnival…family…Samuel. Samuel…
Without a second thought, she stumbled along to the only place she knew could be familiar to her. To home.
Thank you… But I promise you, there’s nothing to worry about.
Make sure it stays that way.
Don’t worry about me… okay?
Hey, I’m your family. Its my job. I trust you and know you can hold your own, but someone has to carry some worry for you. And that someone is me.
Don’t be. Now how are you?
I already answered your question.
Help. That was something that Death hasn’t asked for in a lifetime and a half. Was she going to start tonight though? She and the other Rogues orchestrated this whole thing. As far as she knew, they were still in control of the whole thing. Even though the pain felt real and the fear was well embedded in her, she wasn’t going to throw in the towel any time soon. “Thanks, I’ll be sure to do so,” she lied behind gritted teeth as the two of them hobbled down the pathways. “If you need anything… Well I’m not sure if I’d be much help but— Ahh,” she hissed. “I’ll try my best to help you too.”
Death froze in her tracks. She was caught so off guard by this. How was she supposed to protect herself? With her ability, she would help people cross the bridge from the living world to the other side, but this girl was already dead. She was defenseless. This was a thought that was more chilling than the air around them. To know that there was something out there that even she couldn’t defend herself from turned her face a pasty white color. Thank God (not that Death particularly believed in such a figure) for Kiara. The long haired woman was able to pull her away and the two of them set off to find an escape once more. “Thanks for that,” she said quickly as she wiped the cold sweat off her brow. She had to slap herself for forgetting that the whole thing wasn’t real. It was sloppy work, careless even.
Following closely behind Kiara, the second the two turned a sharp corner they were confronted with more demonic children. I hate children. She was ready to tug Kiara towards the opposite direct to continue on with the chase, but a strong force had pulled them both from where they were standing. Death was then thrusted forward off the ground and she gasped as she woke up. Bending over to the side, she coughed up a storm trying to catch her breath. Never before had she experienced the effects from a nightmare manipulator and she was sure this was going to be the last. Her eyes popped out when she realized what had happened. She got up in a hurry and started running towards the exit. This time around she was able to navigate through the twists and turns much quicker since she memorized the maze beforehand. Light footsteps, who she assumed belonged to Kiara, followed behind her. Death didn’t have time to properly check though.
When she reached the exit, a good number of gun barrels pointed at her. “Lower your firearms!” she commanded. “What the hell happened here? Why did we wake up early?”
“M-Ma’am, the girl broke out,” her henchmen stuttered.
Her eyes narrowed down the size of pins, “You guys let her escape? Find her. Nobody will leave this place unless I say so. They’re not missing the grand finale. Is that clear?”
Kiara stared after Persephone when she simply ran off, without responding to her question. Something was wrong…very wrong. The phoenix got to her feet and stretched her arms quickly before running after the short-haired brunette. Whatever was going on, she was surely involved…or something. She was running away quickly, and not looking back. That raised suspicions. There was a definitive purpose in running due to fear, and running for a purpose. And in the woman’s rather frantic stride, Kiara could distinguish that unmistakable beacon of purpose. What if she was a part of Nexus, and was there to try and undermine the carnival again? And what if she was a part of something worse? These days, sides were not so black and white. Things were meddled in a graying world, shades of gray lurking and tainting each shadow cast by even the slightest bit of light.
She urged her legs on, to catch up, but had gotten too late of a start. A faint smile crossed her lips. She didn’t need to run to catch up. The phoenix jumped and went into flight, staying low to the ground while in pursuit of the fleeing figure. She had never flown so low to the ground before, for an extended period of time. Only in shows had she come close to grazing the grass, when swooping down after a long free fall from the top of a performance tent. This was a new feeling, a new type of excitement that came with the sensation of quickly maneuvering through the air. Some took to the sky like Superman, others like dragons, but none had the freedom or true grace that the legendary phoenix possessed. Kiara exhibited this perfectly, her streamlined position passing by within the blink of an eye. Soon she caught up to the woman, and landed silently on the ground. Her approach was quiet, and she kept in the shadows, to listen in on what was being said. The girl broke out? What girl? An angry frown came to her face, and she stepped out in the line of sight.
“What the hell is going on?” She spoke sternly, commanding the power that her ability came with-the power of the fire bird. Both hands held tall flames in their upturned palms, and her fierce gaze was on the woman she had met. “You’d better have a damn good explanation for this. Don’t make me light the fire under your ass…”
Nothing. Just some work stuff related. Can’t really talk about it.
There’s nothing to talk about. It’s just one of those days, I suppose.
You should know that you can’t pull the wool over my eyes, Noel. C’mon. What’s got your day down so much?