Author’s Note: This is the point at which I said, “Oops, story’s… over.” Then I also said, “no, it’s not, there’s more so I have to keep going.” 40,000 words later, that was a huge mistake. I went back to this point and changed directions, and so while this is not an ending in some people’s opinions, this is where this part of the story ends. After the mistake in taking the story one direction, I’m not really thinking I’ll put up the next bit unless there’s a real interest in seeing it, just because I’m not sure it’ll work this way, either.
“The rain stopped.”
“Enya, what are you doing? We’re supposed to wait here.”
She knew that, but she couldn’t help pushing the door open anyway. She couldn’t feel anyone or anything, not even Flint, and she didn’t like being so far removed from everyone else and what was going on. She didn’t want to sit alone and wait for something to come at her. She understood now what she’d done in hiding from her abilities, and she cursed herself for it, for leaving her and the others so helpless by her lack of control.
“Don’t go. I can feel Stone. He’s awake, and I can tell he’s doing better. We’re almost done here,” Terra said, taking hold of Enya’s arm. She looked at the hand and shook her head, pulling free as she stepped down onto the street.
“They might be, but that doesn’t mean that Cress is,” Enya said as she started toward where they’d left him. She didn’t know what she expected to be able to do; she knew she didn’t have control and shouldn’t use her ability, even if she’d had a lesson or two from Flint. She hoped that she wouldn’t have to use it, to rely on anything that she could do, but she knew something was wrong. She’d known it before Cress got out of the car.
“Enya,” Terra hissed, following after her. Enya knew she thought she was helping, trying to keep the one of them that couldn’t control anything close so that she could help if Enya got in trouble, but she didn’t want to need that, either. She was not a child. She would get better at controlling her abilities, and she’d make herself useful for a change. “Come on. They’ll be back at the car soon enough and—”
Enya watched the water flowing up through the streets, a flood rushing through the middle of the town, and she knew it was unnatural, even as she was soaked through by the rain pouring on top of them. She could see ice spreading across the street, heard glass shattering everywhere, and Terra caught hold of her arm, almost collapsing on top of her.
“Sorry. I feel… sick.”
Terra wasn’t the only one. Enya might not be as connected to fire as Terra was to earth, but she could feel how wrong this area was. She didn’t think Occie or Cress should get anywhere near here. This kind of wrongness could be fatal for a water elemental. Then again—this was where Cress was, and if he was fighting against that, he’d be in terrible shape, worse than anything he’d been through yet.
“Come on. We have to get closer. Cress is in trouble.”
“Trouble,” Terra said, and Enya almost rolled her eyes at the other woman’s mood, but Terra shook her head. “This is not just… trouble. I think he’s dead.”
Enya refused to accept that. She dragged Terra forward, around the corner, wishing she could use one of Flint’s tricks to warm up the street. The water was freezing, and most of the area had gone to ice. They’d have more normals to rescue, and they couldn’t afford to do that, either, not when they needed to get Stone and Cress away to safety.
Not that they’d abandon anyone to freeze to death, either.
“Oh, hell,” Terra said, and Enya looked over to see what had her cursing. She’d expected to see Cress on the ground, unconscious or worse, but that… that was something else. Lightning flashed along the edges of the darkness, a hole ripped right in the middle of nowhere, as though the fabric of space and time itself had gotten torn, leaving a dangerous vortex in its place, only it was not drawing either of them into it.
“He did it. He used Cress to break the barrier.”