Adrenaline roared through my veins like a raging tide. It was not unlike the one whistling in my ears, exploding in my chest, and not unlike the one I could feel in my fingertips, static like a tense wire one that could break any second, one that could bend, one that could crack one that could-
"Stop," I hissed at myself. I was always on thin ice, the ice was the only thing protecting me from the deathly substance below.
My control faltered at the reminder, causing me to trip. The fall tore me from my worries and brought me to new ones, my surroundings, which suddenly became noticeable. An open field, with grass ripping at my knees in little cuts as I flew through it. Each gasp of breath got me one footstep, each footstep got me farther away from what I was running from...what was I running from?
They danced on the horizon tearing through the dry field with ease like soldiers marching into battle. Like me, they were fueled by oxygen, but unlike me, they didn't tire. My muscles screamed in protest after every step, my lungs not able to suck in enough air to pump through my blood, or to fuel my muscles.
The flame's only fuel was the person behind them, Luca. I could picture him now; dark skin, black curly hair kept in tight coils close to his head. Arched brows, full, pale lips, and glittery gold eyes filled with a malicious hunger. The last words he said to me flooded my head
You will never defeat me if you're too scared to try.
I was too scared to try, I knew what would happen if I did.
I shifted focus forcefully again. I could feel the heat on my back like breathing down my neck, hear the screech of the fire. The smoke choked the rest of my senses out. Except for one; a sixth I had recently developed. I could only describe it as a pull. At first, it was a slight tug, starting in my hand. And then, the static in my fingertips exploded, and I felt like I was flying. A sudden feeling of despericity washed over me. My exhaustion didn’t matter anymore, the lack of oxygen didn’t matter anymore, only one word pounding over and over again in my head like a wave beating on a shore…
This word meant nothing to me, but it was apparent that it meant a lot to a piece of me woven into my core.
Home, home, home.
The fire raged behind me, the shards of heat and light flashing in the sides of my vision like vicious talons. I quickly looked straight ahead to ignore my impending danger. Then, I noticed something. The field was not endless, it was only when I realized this did I truly understand.
I stare breathlessly at the beautiful expanse of water in front of me. The surface ripples in the breeze, glowing in the morning light, it’s almost blinding. The wind roars in my ears and the rest of my senses catch up to my sight. The salty taste washes over my tongue as the cold sea breeze wraps around my form. The only thing protecting me from it was a solid concrete dam, shielding the liquid from the mainland. It was no longer static in my fingers, it was sheer power. I didn't know how to describe it, and I didn’t waste time trying.
All that I knew was that it was terrifying.
Fighting everything in my body that was screaming at me to keep running, I drove my feet into the ground and froze right where I was. I didn’t dare turn around, I didn’t need to. I knew what was behind me, but was it more dangerous than what was in front of me?
The rhythmic chanting was hard to resist, I had to focus all my energy in keeping my feet firmly planted.
“Nathalie,” the voice rose from the flames, my eyelids slid closed at the familiar tone and the use of my name. I was properly screwed. I knew what I was going to see when I opened my eyes. I could feel the heat of fire all around me, see the light seeping through the cracks of my eyelids. None of this was as terrifying as the person controlling it. Opening my eyes slowly, the scene that revealed itself around me was not surprising. Standing on the hill of the moor was a man laced in flames.
“Hello Nathalie,” Luca purred. Flames coiled around him like an obedient serpent, “Why don’t you come say hi?” Like a warm blanket, the blaze surrounded me, making a wide circle. Blisters blossomed along my body, I fought the urge to wince.
I stared, wide eyed and speechless. My whole body was shaking, but not from fear, from a demand that was pulsating through my system.
“It’s a strange feeling, isn’t it?” Luca said, “I can see you struggling with it, the pull. it’s quite interesting from an outsider' point of view…”
You're not an outsider. Although it was hard to tell with the whispery movements of the fire, his body was quivering too. It was clear to me, the fire that was all around us was just as dangerous to his pull as it was to my health.
“...Sometimes it’s hard to tell if it’s something that you want...he or what’s left of you anyways…” he trailed off with a frown, “...or something that a special part of you wants-”
“...a part that will do anything…”
“...to secure what it wants most…”
I jammed my eyes shut, fighting the internal fight, trying to shut out everything around me and inside of me. That was until he said something that captivated my attention.
“I can take it all away,”
“R-really?” I wasn’t aware I had spoken until I heard my own voice.
Luca’s eyes lit like a candle, “Why yes, I just need your pull,”
My pull? Could I really just give it to him? Would it be all over then? I began to consider it, until he spoke again.
“You need me,”
I didn’t need anyone.
My pull that has been sitting, watching, waiting for the verdict, laughed. It was the only way I could describe it, a subtle vibration in my center mingled with the now familiar demand, home.
I wanted to say ‘no’, so it wasn’t me that said what came out of my mouth, “You’re the one that needs me, you’re just too scared to admit it,”
Luca tried to hide his facial expression with a burst of fire, but I saw his surprise, “Using my own words against me eh? How cute,” his dark laughter suggested that he did not think it was cute at all, “I’m not here to play games. Here’s what's going to happen; you’re going to give me your pull, or there is going to be some consequences,”
What could you possibly do? The breath of the fire suddenly felt hotter against my skin.
“You can’t kill me,” I was not doubting his skill, my life rested on the fact that he needed me, my pull.
Home. It chimed in helpfully, not at all concerned.
“Oh no I don’t need to kill you, I just need to show you the weight of what you bear, show you that you want me to carry it for you, that you need me to carry it for you,”
What was he going to do? A feeling of dark amusement stirred within me, not of my own. What did my pull know that I didn’t?
Home, It whispered.
That’s when I knew, just a second too late. The sound of the demolition of the dam was drowned out by the roar of hundreds of thousands of gallons of water.
And then I was gone, like a driver pushed into the back seat of the car, I watched someone else take over, something else.
Then, I laughed, or it did. It was a dark sound, not light or happy, muddled with a desire too familiar, home. Time felt like it was slowing down as my brain analyzed everything. There were approximately ten seconds before the massive amount of water hit me, which meant there was approximately ten seconds left in Luca’s life.
He made the mistake of underestimating me. Did he think I couldn’t control my own pull? ‘Bear its weight?’
He was right.
That was why he was in danger.
The brief pause in time ended abruptly with a hiss, the water tearing through space much more savagely than the fire. My eyes flickered up to meet Luca’s, I felt a cold smile spread across my face.
The impact of the water on my back was timed perfectly with a feeling like a fresh dose of novocaine and my own voice, “Welcome home,”