"What do we do?" Elysse asked, her voice strained. Beside her, Harry was crouching, bandaging up her ankle.
Devon dragged over two rusted metal chairs. "How did they find us again? It keeps happening! And now how are John and Fiona supposed to get out?"
I scanned the streets outside, straining my eyes to check every window. No matter how well we hid, this abandoned construction site was only going to be safe for so long. "Is anyone using their powers? Harry, start talking." I moved away from the door cautiously, taking one of the chairs Devon had placed in the centre of the room.
"I'm not using them," Harry murmured, securing the bandages. "They keep finding us because of base-level aura, Simin can't stop being warm, Devon keeps interacting telekinetically, Elysse is the biggest reason they keep finding us." He crossed his legs and leaned against Elysse's stack of mattresses. I leaned over and pushed up his glasses, unable to stop myself, even now.
Suddenly all the anxiety got to me again and I was on my feet. I handed Elysse my coat, it wasn't like I needed it, and started pacing. Pacing frantically.
"There's no way right," Elysse pulled the coat around her, teeth chattering. "There's no actual way the cops think John has powers?"
"Maybe not powers, but maybe they think he's a criminal or something else, who knows." Devon rubbed his temples, and his leg began shaking.
"Stop that," I told him, looking over from my position at the opening of the incomplete building.
"I'll stop when you stop being stupid," Devon shot back, and Elysse made an angry sound, pushing her long, straight hair out of her face.
"Seriously, you two are so annoying! We might be caught and killed by witches, or eaten by monsters, or freaking arrested, but this-"
"You know, we are sixteen now, you can swear in emergencies." I interrupted, my heart suddenly beating fast when I saw someone approach. "Uh, guys-" He entered a car and drove away. "Nevermind."
"Shut up," Elysse hissed, carefully keeping her voice low. "We need a plan. We need to distract everyone while John gets Fiona out of here." Fiona was the clairvoyant version of us, and her aura signal was so strong that we had to keep moving every two days to avoid getting caught. Harry couldn't keep hiding her, or his powers would get detected. We finally found a coven of good witches to pass her off to, they could mask her abilities.
"Should we do anything?" Harry asked, his voice sounding thin. "John wouldn't like it if we got caught."
"I don't like the idea of losing the only adult who gives a shit about us," Devon said firmly. "We are helping him."
"You know what, I have an idea," I said, my mouth dry. Maybe it was the panic or the flutterings of trapped fire in my chest, but I felt crazy. "Remember that coven? The one we saw downtown?" I turned to face them, my voice suddenly steady.
"Yeah, so-" Elysse frowned.
"She wants to blow it up," Devon stated, staring at me with something I hoped was admiration. "If we did enough stuff there, it could create an aura signal higher than Fiona's."
I hated when he did this, this was literally my idea.
Harry raised his eyebrow and I glared at him. "No powers, Harry!"
"My bad," He muttered, continuing to smile. "So, Elysse makes a portal, and then you two destroy stuff. What do we do in the meantime?"
"Elysse how much juice do you have?" I asked, rubbing my hands together excitedly. Everyone glared when they sparked, but I continued. "If you had enough, I would say you should keep portalling yourself places until you run out of juice, then get on a bus, you'll be untrackable anyways." I pointed at Harry, "Find a place with internet and figure out what's going on with John, if you find somewhere safe, link all of us telepathically to give us a location. If we can't come, find John, and then you three figure it out."
Devon scoffed, jerking his head at Elysse. "And she's supposed to what, bunny hop?"
Elysse waved a hand languidly. "I'll manage, just give me a stick or something." She staggered upright holding the back of a chair, wincing when she put weight on her foot.
Harry nodded at me, which only made his glasses slip further down. One of these days, I was going to shove contact lenses into his eyes.
Devon exhaled sharply, closing his eyes for a moment. "Okay, avoid the cops, the witches, and monsters. Somehow make it back alive, sounds like Tuesday to me." He clapped his hands, looking around at all of us. "Let's get going,"
Somehow leaving the other two gave me more anxiety than I thought possible. "What if they get into trouble? Elysse can barely walk, Harry is...well, Harry. What if the portal she had to make for us was all the power she had?" I paced frantically dragging my hand through my already messed up hair.
Devon stopped peering over the benches to glare at me, "One problem at a time? Also, if you had this much separation anxiety why'd you make a plan that separated us?"
"Can you stop, you're not helping!" I gritted my teeth, aware that he was right. Like always. "Oh my God, this is how everyone dies in a horror movie! And, what if John and Fiona already got caught? What if they never made it out?"
"Okay, shut up, I think I see a way in," Devon muttered, getting up to cross the street. "Do you want to stay out here, get yourself a panic attack and a latte or something?"
"Sounds good to me, you want a venti with 7 pumps caramel or something?" I smiled my most irritating grin, stretching out on the bench. Why did I have to be stuck with him?
"Get over here, idiot."
I jogged over and crossed with him, making sure to skip on each white line, just to cross that off my bucket list. In front of us loomed an imperious sandstone building, bustling with witches.
"Basically, there's a delivery truck right there, you see that? We need to get in with those boxes. We'll get caught by the aura detectors otherwise." Devon carefully pulled me along, flashing smiles at everyone who passed us on the pavement.
I think my teeth started chattering as we approached, and I bumped into a few witches, which almost caused a panic attack. Thankfully, both of them assumed the aura was coming off of someone else and followed random innocents.
The truck was being unloaded by two guys in overalls. Devon jerked his head and one guy was slammed into the side door, and another just stopped moving, his eyes wide.
"Seriously, they looked like nice people!" I hissed at Devon, as we both took trolleys of boxes inside.
"Oh, shut up, you once set a child on fire!" Devon snapped, pushing aggressively. "We need to head to the-"
"It was by accident! Don't act so-what, what is it?" I looked at him, puzzled when he suddenly stopped.
Devon started moving towards another door, using his powers to smash the lock. "I can feel aura blockers. There's more of us down here. Okay, new plan, go upstairs and just set the shit out of everything on fire. I'll free some more of us."
"Wow, real gallant, just hand me the hard part!" I called after him as loud as I dared, then groaned and took the stairs, muttering to myself. "Oh yeah, sure, new plan, look at me, I'm Devon. I'm so tough, I let Simin get killed first, while I-hi guys! Long time no see! Vive la resistance!" I waved at two pretty witches who passed me, smiling as wide as humanly possible.
They giggled as they passed, and I thanked every possible God that they assumed the aura was coming from somewhere else. Eventually, I burst into the foyer, a grand, circular-ish room. There was a pretty chandelier and everything. And a ton of wooden stuff. Wooden chairs, wooden tables, wooden railings. All gleaming and polished, just begging for me to set them on fire.
And of course, there were a hundred million witches, all of whom turned to glare at me, their faces sharpening at the scent of aura.
I laughed nervously, desperately breathing in. "Nice day isn't it? A little, chilly?" I didn't wait for a response, blowing out a plume of uncontrolled fire.
Instant pandemonium ensued, and I kept setting things on fire. Rolling to avoid spells, charms, the odd toad, I shot out flames from my hands, letting the fancy room burn.
I yelled when a witch got lucky, catching me in the chest with a spell. Paralyzed, I collapsed, unable to convey pain anymore. I continued letting the room burn, letting flames coat my whole body.
The fire alarm rang suddenly, an utterly deafening sound. I set witches on fire, resisting the urge to clamp my hands over my ears.
The sprinklers went off next, and some unlucky witches screamed, turning to mush and dissolving. The more waterproof variety of witches seized the opportunity, circling me as my flames got doused.
"Shit, shit, don't make me recreate the Salem witch trials!" I shouted, finally able to move one arm. I hit one witch square in the jaw. "Devon's the one you want, he's super annoying, and has no sense of humour!"
"Nobody got set on fire during the Salem trials!" One witch hissed, and I scrambled away from her.
"Nobody cares!" I spat fire at her, finally managing to evaporate the water around me. My flames turned blue, scorching the floor.
A witch shocked me with a lightning curse, and I swore, unable to stop the circle of demented witches from closing around me. I blew out flames, scorching some hats and dresses. "Stay back!" I warned, struggling to pull myself to my feet.
Somewhere past the circle of murderous witches around me, I heard screaming.
"Finally!" I yelled, kicking a witch in the stomach, and tackling another one. I burned one's face with a punch and ducked behind another to avoid a Dead Spell. "Devon, I swear, what took you-"
"Duck!" Devon literally spun both us out of the way of a curse, using his telekinesis to push back a line of witches. "Why are you always in the way?" Behind him, a small army of injured looking super-powered people was attacking witches and creating chaos.
"Unless you don't speak English, you said duck, not move, moron!" I snapped, sweeping a witch's legs out from under her and slamming her broom onto her head.
I set the tail of the broom on fire and threw it like a javelin onto the stairs. Devon slipped on the water and pulled me down with him, accidentally dodging a spell cast by a stone witch.
"Saved you again," He smirked, crushing the witch with telekinesis. "You should start thanking me."
"Get over yourself," I kicked another witch into a glass table. "I was doing just fine without you." I heard the telltale siren of a fire truck. "Yo, we got to go. There's enough aura here to attract every witch on the continent, and we need to make sure Elysse and Harry are okay." I pulled his arm, throwing fire at any witch who blocked our path.
When we finally go out, Devon pulled back, dragging us to a stop. "Wait,"
"What, what?" I asked impatiently, eager to escape fully.
"Do you have any juice left?" He asked, grinning mischievously suddenly.
"More than you, I bet," I scoffed, raising an eyebrow when he placed his hand on my shoulder.
"Okay, then together on three, let's make this count." Devon raised his other hand up. "Aim for the top of the building, there's probably only witches there."
I pretended to get emotional, raising my hand too. "The best idea you've ever had, I'm so proud of you, son."
Devon shoved me lightly and I put my hand on his shoulder. "Shut up, one..two..three!"
As our powers fused, the top of the building exploded, first imploding, then blowing up in a blaze.
The area rocked, nearby windows shattering with the shock wave. Both of us stared at it in awe, aghast as car alarms went off.
"That's the coolest thing ever!" I whooped, whacking his arm. "How the hell did you know how to do that?" I smiled at him genuinely, my clothes charred, hair a frizzy mess, but somehow we were both alive! I was a little glad I had to be stuck with him.
Devon looked at me, the same excitement etched on his face. "Remember when John said to trust each other? I think I-" Over his shoulder I saw a half-burned witch stagger up, staring right at us.
"Second thought, I don't care, save it for when the fam gets back together!" I seized his arm and dragged him along, both of us running as fast as we could.
"You are so awful," He yelled, as we raced through swarms of panicked crowds.
"Aw, and here I thought this was the beginning of something adorable," I panted, pulling him away from the direction of police cars. "I'm never saving your life again!"
"You?! I saved your life-"