“His pupils vanished and his irises flared yellow.”
Virgil stumbled back from Gordon as his brother lit up like a road flare. “Shit!”
“‘Sokay, Virg,” he rumbled, the words tinged with the high scree of wind and the shatter of crystal. “This bastard’s not getting away this time.”
Scott and John pounded up beside Virgil, helping him up from where he’d fallen on his ass in the dirt. “What the–” Scott, his voice betraying his utter bewilderment at the–thing–his brother had become. “Is–is that Gordon?”
The being was still clothed in blue, although it had somehow melded into one solid shade, and his baldric was missing–or, now that Virgil thought of it, had expanded into an envelope of energy that surrounded the aquanaut. Gordon’s honey-blond waves danced as if he were standing in a high wind, and his eyes were brilliant spots of gold. The edges of his body were limned in the same bright shade, and his feet were hovering about two feet above the ground. He clenched his fists, and sun-colored energy dripped from between his fingers.
“Oh…my…God,” John breathed. “I don’t believe it.”
“What?” Virgil and Scott said in chorus.
To Virgil’s astonishment, there was a tiny smirk playing about John’s lips as he regarded his luminous sibling. “Wait till I tell Brains,” John was murmuring, almost to himself. “It actually worked.”
Before Virgil could jump on John, demanding to know what he’d done to their little brother, Gordon threw back his head and spread his arms wide. He rose even higher, hovering above their heads on wings of pure brilliance. It was only then that the brothers turned their attention to the figure cowering on the ground: The Hood. The villain’s clothes were dirty and torn, and he had one hand raised to shield his eyes from Gordon’s light. For the first time, the man actually looked…afraid.
“Please,” he rasped, and it took a moment for Virgil to realize that he was speaking to them. “Please, help me. Call him off.”
Scott straightened and took a step toward the Hood. Obviously, he’d put whatever was going on far away enough that his focus was on the enemy sprawled at his feet. “To tell you the truth, I don’t think we can.” He shrugged, raising his head and shielding his own eyes. “Looks like he’s reached critical mass. I’d say you’re pretty well screwed.”
“You don’t understand,” spit the Hood. “That much energy–that much power, it’ll consume everything around him–including us!”
Virgil narrowed his eyes and scuttled forward to grab the Hood by the tattered front of his Saville Row shirt. “What do you know? Spill it or I set him off!” This last was a complete bluster, as he wasn’t sure Gordon could even hear him, but it put the fear in the peridot irises just the same.
“He has to discharge it,” the Hood stammered. “He’s like a living fusion reactor. There’s a reason the atom bomb was tested in a desert!”
Scott was glaring at John, but the redhead was gazing at Gordon with a rapt, almost beatific expression, as if he were beholding an angel. “What about him? Since you seem to know so much about this, tell me what’s gonna happen to my little brother!”
The Hood shook his head. “He’ll be at the center; he won’t be harmed, but everything else–there’s no telling how big the blast radius will be!”
Virgil couldn’t stand it any longer; he twisted his fist into the torn fabric and brought his wife’s uncle–God, he was related to this scumbucket, that made him want to have Gordon light him up like a Christmas tree–nose to nose. “You better not be lying to us,” he snarled. “If anything happens to Gordon, you’re gonna wish he nuked you.”
“I swear, it’s the truth.” His wide eyes stared at the angelic form, the light radiating from Gordon casting their shadows on the rocky ground. “Tell him he needs to find someplace–a cave, a bunker, the upper atmosphere, somewhere–and expend the energy.” The light flared brighter. “Quickly.”
Virgil dropped the Hood in the dirt and turned toward Gordon. His breath caught in his chest; Gordon was–there was no other word for it, he was beautiful, golden and gleaming like a captive star. His face was serene, the brilliant eyes closed, his hands open and relaxed. Virgil’s own hands twitched, wanting his paintbrush to capture the otherworldly scene. “Gordon!” he called.
The figure raised its head, eyes opening to ovals of gold and amber and citrine. “I heard him, Virg,” he said. He exhaled, raising higher in the air. “This feels…good.” He sighed. “I’ll be back in a little while. I’m okay.”
“Gordon!” This from Scott, the name tearing from his throat. “Don’t…don’t do anything stupid.”
A smile. “Never.” He raised his arms above his head and was gone.
Silence slammed into them. The wind dropped into stillness. One, two, three heartbeats went by, and then–
The ground began to shake beneath their feet, toppling them all to their knees. Beyond the hills, the sky lit with a column of golden light, and the shockwave hit them like a hot summer wind. Virgil didn’t even want to imagine what it looked like at ground zero, trees bent and blackened, sand fused and glassy, grass and shrubs turned to ash. And at the center, his little brother…
Virgil rounded on John. “What did you do, you bastard?”
John shook his head. “An accident. Gordon got too close. Brains was trying to dismantle it, to see how it worked, but it went off and Gordy–” His turquoise eyes flickered to something over Virgil’s shoulder, and his jaw dropped. “Gordy.”
Virgil turned just in time to see Gordon, clad in the remains of his iR blues, stumbling toward them. Smoke was rising from him, and when he drew nearer, Virgil could smell a faint odor of singed hair and hot neoprene. When the aquanaut raised his head to smile at them, the irises were his normal amber. He looked almost drunk, a goofy grin on his smudged face. “Gang’s all here,” he drawled, and then pitched forward, unconscious, into Virgil’s arms.
As one, they all looked to the Hood, who had gotten to his feet but hadn’t moved. “I can help him,” he said quietly. “You’ll need me.”
Scott grabbed him, pulling a zip tie from his utility kit and binding his wrists behind him. “You’d better,” he snarled, “Or like Virg said, you’re gonna wish Gordon nuked you.”
::sputters madly:: Stunning! ‘Wings of pure brilliance’ – the image coming off these lines are amazing ::loves just as madly::
I want to dance in the shattered sunlight that is Gordon Tracy. John, you’ve gone just a little too mad scientist there, focus, m’boy! And poor Virg, related to wastaspace (love the wife line), caught in the middle. I hope Gordon didn’t torch anyone by accident.
I love your writing!
(Closer to the edge today, just not sure whether it is the on or off side)