Here it is, right? The moment where I finally came into my own as a superhero. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Lame pep talk. And you’re captured, idiot. What kind of hero are you?
I’d point you to the various parts in movies where the hero comes back from insurmountable odds, to where they or their sidekick get captured and escape, and I’d even go so far as to reference the monologue conversations in The Incredibles. Yeah, this wasn’t a monologue moment, but it didn’t mean that escape wasn’t impossible. That I couldn’t be a hero coming into my own.
But that’s still kind of aiming high for me.
Clayton looked up at the vent. “That is high.”
“You know how to fall if need be.”
“Yeah, I got good with practice.”
April laughed. “Yes, and we’ll get you a ribbon, too, but you have to do this. You’re our best shot at getting out of here. I mean, it’s not like we really expected them to come save us. Ever. We’re not that stupid. We know a whole lot better than that.”
He nodded. “Exactly.”
“Come on, Clay. I got the grill off. You have to get up there and get us out of here. And be careful. I know that you can panic and get yourself in trouble with random shifts, but that isn’t going to happen, right?”
“Are you really going to be okay if I leave you alone? What happened earlier was… scary. It worries me. I have never seen you like that, never really seen you lose your cool. Angry, yes, beautiful and scary and dangerous when angry, that’s what you are, but frightened and teary and incoherent, that’s not you.”
“We can talk about that later, after we’re out of here,” she insisted. “Now focus. You know you’ll need the right kind of timing to do this. Concentrate.”
He put his hands on her face and gave her a good long kiss. “There. Okay. I think I can concentrate right now.”
“I can’t,” she grumbled. He smirked at her, and she smacked him on the arm. “Go.”
He nodded a final time and sighed, wishing that Kilbourne had made him a little more athletic when he’d engineered him in that vat. Clay could have used that to go with this age-shifting thing. Shaking that off, he did a quick countdown and did a bit of a run to build up some speed before jumping up. Grabbing the edge of the vent with his hands, he shifted as he pulled himself inside, stopping to catch his breath.
He turned around as much as he could. “For the record, that still sucks to do.”
“It looked flawless this time,” April said encouragingly. “Now go find a way to open this door so I can get out of here.”
Clay nodded, even though he knew that she couldn’t see it. That didn’t really matter. He had a job to do now, and only he could do it. He would find a way out of the vent shaft and then he’d get April out, a couple acts of a real hero type for a change, and then they could go find Kilbourne and get some answers.
He crawled and crawled for what seemed like forever. The vent shaft didn’t get bigger or turn. He was having a bad feeling about getting back to April at this rate. They’d both forgotten that pesky twenty minute rule, too. She was going to have to be very patient for him to rescue her.
“Finally,” he muttered when he saw the next vent. He crawled up next to it and peeked through the slits at the room below him.