Rain falls with a quiet patter as the funeral procession enters the graveyard, the overcast skies putting an even more solemn mood over the affair. The piano plays mournfully as the crowd lowers themselves into their seats, some crying, others still wearing faces of denial. Upon the makeshift stage stands a brokenlooking woman wearing a police uniform.She speaks of heroism and sacrifice, love and loss.Her eyes reflect experience, and shine with a resilient, if restrained, passion. She is trying less to reach the crowd and more to reach a single beatendown girl in the front row, the one not hearing any of the words. Her face is blank, her eyes are somewhere else. She looks as though she is not really there, as if she, more than anyone else, does not want to be at the funeral. Her body, which once exuded a quiet strength, an infallible confidence, is now broken, hollowed, and barely holding its own weight.
Next to her is a second girl, weeping openly, for both the boy who died, the one in the casket, as well as for the girl dying next to her, numb to her surroundings. She leans her head on the shoulder of the broken girl and whispers in her ear, trying just as hard as the dejected speaker to reach her. Her voice is quiet, but “Kara. Stay with me, Kara.”
She receives no answer, the rain continues to fall, and the funeral moves on.
Chapter One: Before
Night falls in the city of Chroma. Darkness covers the metropolis, bringing with it a kind of peace without silence. The night air is a cacophony of noises, of sirens, of horns, of alarms, all interspersed with the chatter of thousands of voices. It’s almost enough to cover the sound of the upper floors of a building exploding. Almost.
The sky lights up in orange as pieces of glass and stone rain down. Among the debris is a girl, her legs pulled up to her chest and her arms out in a desperate bid to stay oriented. Her voice is buried under the sound of the building’s upper floors collapsing, as she screams:
She pulls her arms in and, with a practiced motion, tucks and rolls onto the roof of a neighboring building. Standing up, she bows to no one in particular before letting her muscles relax, accompanied by a deep sigh. Her earpiece buzzes to life as the voice of a frantic boy pierces the static:
“Kara? Kara! Are you okay? I heard that from here!”
She coughs before answering, “Yeah, I’ll be sore for a decade but aside from that I’m fine. Any idea who did this?”
“Uh, well, actually, no. But whoever it is, their van parked next to the building you fell onto.”
“Landed on, but continue.”
“It’s worth noting, though, they don’t look like the type to plan this. They were likely hired.”
She makes her way off the building and approaches the van, turning her comm back on as she does.“So what should I say when they get here? The classic ‘going somewhere?’ Or should I improvise and be like-”
A shout rings out in the alleyway as one of the thugs charges her with a pipe. With an only slightly dramatic sigh, she turns and trips him with a complicated leg movement before breaking the pipe over her knee. She turns to the other thug with a raised eyebrow and a smirk on her face. “Who sent you?”
Met with silence, she begins walking towards the shaking thug. “I will ask again. Who sent you?” Without warning, the thug pulls a gun and fires on her, only a few feet separating them.
As he goes to call out in triumph, he freezes. The bullet hangs in mid-air, though “caught” would be more accurate, suspended in a field of translucent, almost pink energy.
The girl stands, hands out in front her, concentrating on holding the shield, the energy appearing to eat away at the bullet, before she allows the energy to dissipate, the bullet’s remains falling to the ground with a clatter. She turns to a thug that is quickly realizing he is cornered and raises her eyebrow again, before saying, “Going somewhere?”