I saw Derek fall through half-blind eyes, but I wasn’t close enough to catch him. Akane was still haring off after Kat, so she wasn’t much help either. I almost tried to cushion his fall with my ability, before realizing that would be worse than useless. A stone pillow would just ensure a concussion.
I rushed forward to check on him, and after a moment’s blind searching was relieved to find a pulse.
“He alive?” Laura asked from my ear, making me jump.
“Y-yeah. He’s gonna be sore as hell, though, and probably has a concussion.” I frowned as I realized my sight was clearing. “Wait—is the daybreak fading?”
“Yes. The Lucifer is smart; daybreaks are only effective if they’re sudden. Even nighteyes can adjust eventually. We’ll do another in a few minutes. I’ll text you a warning.” She glanced around. “Get Derek to the medics, then work on separating the ferrets from the screamers.” She ran off before I could ask for more detail (or remind her that she technically couldn’t give me orders), but it quickly became apparent anyway.
Now that I could see a little bit better under the light of the moon, it became clear that the Nosferatu were indeed still fighting each other almost more than the screamers. Morons. Seriously, was I the only one who ever saw a zombie movie?
On the other hand, Derek seemed to have had at least some effect. It was only a minority that were refusing to play nice. The rest seemed more than willing to cooperate with Necessarius against the infected and their erstwhile kin.
Of course, the ‘sarians couldn’t really tell anyone apart, so they were just shooting blindly. Hence the need to separate the screamers, so they had a better idea of who to fight. Not to mention the ever-present threat of infection.
Luckily, I managed to find a medic in seconds, and he carried off Derek, which left me with one less thing to worry about. Now on to the task at hand.
Even with my reservoir at full, I wasn’t sure I could get a good wall up that would actually block the bats at all. I mean, they could fly. Only a little, but—
Only a little.
They could only shift into bat form for a couple seconds; barely enough time to fly any real distance. The current wall the ‘sarians had up was doing a pretty good job of holding them back—we just needed another one.
A ten-foot high wall should be more than enough. But it would have to reach across the entire street. I was getting better, but that was definitely beyond me. And I couldn’t exactly just bring it up in sections.
Actually, that sounded like the best idea. I’d have to be careful, and my reservoir would take a few minutes to recharge each time, but…
No. Looking closer, it was impossible. If I was lucky, I’d be able to make a wall five feet wide and ten tall each time. The street was maybe fifty feet wide. It would take an hour or more to make the wall, and that was assuming nothing went wrong. I needed a new plan.
I glanced around, looking for something I could use, but I could barely see. Between the dim glow of the moon and the beams of light the angels were casting around, it was too chaotic to make anything out. I mean, yeah, I could see the horde, and I could see the buildings flanking the street, but that was about it.
I needed a new plan. What would Laura do?
Something smart. She’d…
I had no idea what she’d do. Quote Sun Tzu and outmaneuver the enemy, probably. But that wasn’t exactly my strong suit. All I could do was break things. And quote entire episodes of anime from memory. Only the better episodes, the ones I had watched like fifty times, but still.
That might be the answer right there.
I rushed to the corner building, a cafe with tables stacked into a crude wall against the zombies, and the glass storefront shattered. This might work…
I placed my hand on the wall and concentrated, trying to feel the building. I could vaguely sense solid objects as part of my ability, and I had a much more detailed sense of anything I could affect with my power.
I was in luck. The builders had been a little cheap; the first few floors were made mostly of concrete and rebar. Floor four and higher were mostly things I couldn’t really sense in detail, probably steel and other sturdier materials. It didn’t matter. The first few floors were all I needed.
How to do this? I had to be careful. The foundation was four concrete pillars supporting the similarly built second floor, so I should be able to do this just by tearing out the right supports. The walls were just plaster and sheetrock, they couldn’t actually support any weight. I chose the rightmost pillar, the one on the corner.
Placing my hand on it, I could feel that this should work. If I ripped this out, everything should go as planned. The only problem was the pillar itself.
I had never really destroyed anything before. With my power, I mean. I dipped into the city’s concrete foundation to make walls and weapons, but I hadn’t really done anything permanent.
I don’t like destroying things. Never have. You can’t get back something you’ve destroyed. I remember when I was a kid and one of my orphanmates destroyed my anime collection. Even when my matron had promised we could just re-download everything, I still didn’t stop crying for most of the day. A copy just never felt quite the same, even though it should.
But…I didn’t have time for this right now. Right or wrong, I had to do this. So following the example of all action protagonists ever, I buried my misgivings deep inside myself, and resolved never to think of it again. That should last for at least a few hours.
So, with my heart turned to stone, I concentrated on the concrete under my hand and pulled with all my power.
There was a snap, and a huge crack appeared in the pillar.
Not enough. Not yet. I pulled again.
The crack widened, and the building groaned as its weight shifted.
Just a little more…I had enough power to pull just a little harder.
I poured every last drop of power I had into it, wringing my reservoir dry as the pillar cracked, and the building above my head groaned dangerously.
The pillar exploded.
Dust and debris billowed out, covering me and the street behind me, and I felt pieces and slivers of concrete slice tiny gashes across my arms and face. Nothing serious, but I shouldn’t have been standing in the line of fire.
After a few moments of waving my hands around blindly and coughing, the dust began to clear. I opened my eyes…
And the building was still standing. Groaning louder than before, but still very much upright. A couple of the rebar bars in the pillar I had just destroyed were still intact, but even my nonexistent knowledge of architecture was enough to tell me that they weren’t providing any actual support.
Okay, so maybe it was built a little better than I thought. Still, most of the work was done. It just needed a little push.
I entered the ‘scraper cautiously but swiftly, worried about the unstable roof but knowing I had no other choice. I quickly crossed to the pillar diagonally opposite the one I had destroyed, knowing this was the point I needed to attack if my plan was going to work. My reservoir wasn’t quite filled yet, but that was fine. I still needed to assess the situation a little more anyway.
Placing my hand on the pillar gave me more than enough information. The building was teetering dangerously, but the foundation was still strong enough to support it. It might fall eventually, but not any time soon.
Well. I’d just have to do something about that.
I took a deep breath, my hand still on the pillar. I should be able to do this. My reservoir was full, so I had the power and to spare. My only worry was that I would screw it up and drop a building on myself. I might have some spare juice to protect myself, but I wasn’t very hopeful on that front. Most of the stuff that would fall on me wasn’t stuff I could affect anyway.
Still, it was too late to back out now. Gathering all my power, I pushed as hard as I could.
Only this time, I pushed up.
It quickly became apparent that my suspicions were correct. This was the crux point, and from here I could unbalance the entire ‘scraper in the direction I wanted. But it was still an entire building, and my reservoir was draining fast with little to show for it.
It creaked and groaned and dust fell on my head, but it didn’t seem to actually be moving. I could feel something happening through the pillar, both from the vibrations and my power itself, but I didn’t have enough experience to be able to tell if it was working.
But then a crack appeared in the pillar. A deep, horizontal gash.
The pillar groaned, and the crack widened.
It was working. Slowly, ever so slowly, but it was working.
My reservoir ran dry.
There was a muffled boom when my power snapped off, as the building settled back down onto its foundations. Even more dust rained down, and I had to cover my face with my shirt to even be able to breathe. Still, sheetrock and concrete got down my throat, and I coughed in an attempt to hack it back up.
I had been so excited my plan was actually working I had completely lost track of what was going on. My reservoir was still not very deep. I had some power to play with, but it was really only good for small bursts of energy. I should have known moving an entire skyscraper was beyond me.
But I could try again. My entire body ached from the overexertion, but my reservoir was still refilling. Except…it seemed slower than normal. Just by a hair, but still. Was that because I was so tired? Did that affect it somehow?
Huh. I made a mental note to talk to Laura about it. She’d have a better idea about what it might mean, and how to test the theory.
Still, right now I needed to focus on the task at hand. One more good push should be able to do it. It was probably for the best that it hadn’t worked on the first try, actually. This way, people would notice the dust billowing out and move out of the way, while the zombies would be too stupid to notice.
A few minutes of gulping down air proved to be enough. I would have liked some water to wash out the taste of dirt in my mouth, but I didn’t have any on me, and there was no time to find any.
This time, I didn’t waste any time letting my power out slowly. I pushed with everything I had from the very start, imagining my reservoir emptying out, grabbing the pillar with giant hands and lifting.
I don’t know if the imaging helped, or if it was just to all-or-nothing attack. Hell, it was probably just the fact that the pillar was already cracked.
But it worked.
The ‘scraper groaned overhead, dust filling the room in a blinding cloud, until finally…
Until finally, with a sound like a hundred dying gargants, the massive structure toppled to its side, crashing into the street with a dull boom that rattled my bones and shattered some teeth.
Laura’s order was complete. The screamers were now separated from the vampires.
Behind the Scenes (scene 32)
Originally, the angels arriving was supposed to be the end of the battle. Thankfully, I realized that this didn’t quite work, as it made light of the emotional impact the battle was supposed to have. Not to mention that it implied the vampires were far weaker to light than they actually are.
So there are three more scenes before the end of the fight. Adam’s will be up on Monday.