Sooty Green Dragons
Warning: Non-specific, off screen harm to children.
She pushed her ‘bird as hard as she could. She had no doubts that Thunderbird One would be joining her shortly, but for the moment, Shadow was the wind.
She hit the coast of the United States the day before she left. The sun was still low in the sky.
“Thunderbird Five, do you have the co-ordinates of the school?”
“Kayo, please wait for Scott.”
“John, I need to be there, I need to be there now.”
The co-ordinates appeared on her nav system. “Thank you, John.”
“Kayo, please wait for Scott. There has been an explosion.”
“John?” But she could see it. A plume of smoke drifting above a sea of houses.
Shadow tore the sky, her claws extending and gaining a perch on old asphalt amongst parked cars. There were flashing lights everywhere.
And wailing. People in pain. A female voice was chanting ‘no’ over and over again, and as her boots hit the sidewalk, she knew it was her voice.
The school was gone.
The rubble smoked. Firefighters were still washing away spot fires and rescue workers combed the debris.
On the periphery of her awareness, she heard Thunderbird One scream into LA’s airspace. She heard her braking thrusters fire, but she had eyes only for what was left.
“Ma’am, you can’t be here.”
A man shaped mixture of emergency yellow and soot blocked her way. Two words passed her lips. “Virgil Tracy?”
Tired eyes widened and landed on her IR logo. “Mr Tracy…I’m sorry, ma’am, but we have been unable to locate him.”
“Where was he last seen?”
“Ma’am, he arrived, demanded to be handed over to save the children. He was determined. He entered the building and we waited, but…”The man visibly swallowed. “That bastard blew them up anyway.” He blinked rapidly. “Two hundred and fifty-three children and the school staff, all gone.” He cleared his throat, obviously distraught. “I’m sorry, ma’am, but Mr Tracy hasn’t been seen since.”
A tall, blue presence appeared at her elbow and the yellow, sooty man’s expression gained even more respect and he stepped back. “I’m so sorry, Mr Tracy.”
Scott said something, but she didn’t hear him.
Smoke drifted above rubble.
Pushing past, she beelined for what had been the entrance to the school.
Her boots crunched sooty gravel.
A desk lay on its side, black and burnt.
A school bag melted to broken brickwork.
“Ma’am, you can’t be here.” More yellow, more soot.
She ignored it.
The smoke made her cough.
She pushed on through the cloud.
White sheets appeared everywhere, draped over…
“Kayo!” A hand touched her arm.
A glint caught her eye.
She shook him off.
“Virgil?” His name passed her lips quietly and involuntarily.
She bent over and picked up the metal responsible.
The silver ring was wrapped in sooty green dragons.