“I need a medic!”
“Dwayne! Dwayne! Hold on for me Dwayne!”
“His eyes are fluttering!”
“How’s his pulse?”
Dwayne Pierson groaned against the dented pavement outlining his back along with the lower half of his body. The shrill voice of his fiancé cut through the fog of his awareness, shocking him into a sustained state of semi-consciousness. His chest was sore. He was struggling to open his eyes, but all he could see was a maze of shifting blackness set against a glitchy backdrop of recollection.
“Here! He’s right here! Oh God…”
The night had been going sensationally actually. He had taken his girlfriend, Theena, out on a surprise date to the beach. The wind was warm, the people were friendly, the stars were bright. Perfect night, with a perfect girl. And in just a few seconds, it was about to be a perfect moment. He had paused to stare into her radiant blue eyes, perfect against her warm, tan colored skin. Many of his friends had gotten married out of desperation, or out of a gamble, a hope that they’d chosen well. But Dwayne? He knew.
Theena was everything worth living for.
“Lift him onto the cot! Gently now!”
“On the count of three!”
“1… 2…. 3!!”
His pocket had burned with anticipation as he steered her over to a secluded little area, beneath the shining lighthouse broadcasting its soul out to sea. He’d wasted no time. After all these years, it took only the merest gaze for a silent conversation to be held. Theena’s eyes enraptured him like nothing he’d ever experienced or heard of. And so he stared into those twin beams of bejeweled light, those heavenly orbs holding secrets of myth and wonder that he was devoted to spend a lifetime coaxing out of her and unpacking. He stared into those eyes. His eyes.
And simply dropped to his knee.
“I love you Theena. More than breath, more than immortality, more than poetry. I love you with an insufficient unworthy love that is committed to daily unwinding into the endless river of love that you deserve. I love you. And I want forever with you… Will you marry me?”
She’d given him a wry grin through the tears.
“You talk too much.” A giggle. “But yes. So much yes. All the yesses.”
He’d slipped the ring onto her finger, rising as he did so.
“Now who talks too much?”
And then they’d kissed. Deeply. Tenderly. As if it was the first kiss they had ever shared.
“Hospital is two blocks away! Keep him awake!”
“You hear that baby? We’re almost there. Stay awake. Please… for me. Stay awake.”
They were so wrapped up in their euphoria as they meandered back to their car, that they never even saw the swerving mazerati until it was too late. Theena had been thrown clear, but Dwayne had taken almost the full brunt of the crash and flipped up into the air, landing hard on his back. The blow and the bone rattling impact had nearly rendered him mercifully unconscious, but he didn’t quite make it then.
But he felt it calling him now.
I’m sorry Theena… I can’t hold on… I love you…
And then he blacked out.
** ** **
Winged serpents dove out of the air, hissing diamond tongues through reams of fire at the entourage arrayed before them. Four defiant characters- two males dressed in green and white with black capes fluttering behind them, and two females dressed in red and white with that same black cape- hovered in the air. The streaks of fire yielded against their fists, leaving their knuckles humming bright red with the intense heat. Marko, the leader, shouted to the others.
“This isn’t going to work!”
The winged serpents were nearly on top of them.
“Quinz, Talu- protect the people! Yara, with me!”
Quinz followed his leader’s instruction without hesitation, spiraling down to join Talu in ushering the citizens out of the strike zone. Yara coasted up alongside Marko, her hands glowing like molten honey as she began to unleashed her energies for the battle.
“Marko.” She was murmuring softly. “This isn’t like you. You’re playing this too close. You’re waiting for something I can tell. What is it?”
Marko’s eyes searched the skies in vain, seeing nothing but the white, scaly hides of the serpents.
“Maybe nothing. ATTACK!”
Marko and Yara rocketed completely through the first serpent, sending its writhing halfs plummeting from the sky, then they were instantly separated as the brethren of the fallen honed in on their attackers. Quinz and Talu moved as fast as they could below, flying infants and mothers miles away and then zooming back. Using their terra-kinesis to deflect debris and stabilize the ground where it threatened to cave in beneath the people’s feet.
Suddenly a bright flash lit up the sky.
Marko couldn’t help himself.
A powerful figure came barreling down from above, catching the nearest serpents by the wings and tearing them clean off. Marko and Yara moved in to make quick work of them. The figure, a green-black-red blur, whipped through the sky like lightning, a tornado of destruction for the white, scaly beasts. They were consumed before their terror could even fully take hold. The three of them cleared the atmosphere within minutes. The newcomer finally slowed and floated down to hover opposite Marko and Yara.
“BROTHER!” Marko roared, embracing the man in a giant bear hug.
Dwayne instinctively hugged the man back, feeling a flooding sense of familiarity but also of confusion.
Who is this guy? I know him… I do… but who is he? And how the heck did I do that? Who am I?
Yara eyed the newcomer suspiciously.
Dwayne decided to speak.
“Who… are you? I know you’re my brother… I think. Right?”
Marko peered at him.
“Tis nothing but transportation sickness brother. You will soon be well.”
Dwayne’s nose wrinkled.
“Soon be… well? I can’t stay…”
“The winged serpents were merely the vanguard, testing out mettle, trying our defenses. The real attack will be here within hours to wipe out the city and everyone in it. We are the defenders here brother. Us five. We can’t do it without you.”
Dwayne’s look of torn confusion grew pained and his whole body began to flicker.
“What is happening?” Yara finally spoke.
Marko was grim. “He’s going back.”
“I don’t know.”
** ** **
“His eyes are opening!”
“Dwayne- DWAYNE! Can you hear me?”
Dwayne’s eyes fluttered open and Theena’s worried face swam angelically into focus. He could hear the doctor’s voice off to the side.
“Keep talking to him. We need him awake. If he goes under again, he might not come back.”
Theena nodded, stroking her fiance’s cheek softly. Her eyes were full of concern, heart aching with a powerless love.
“Way to make my proposal all about you.”
Dwayne coughed a gravelly chuckle.
She placed a thin finger over his lips.
“Shhhhhh. Don’t talk. Just stay awake. And alive.”
The doctor stood up from where he was working and grabbed his clipboard.
“Ms. Theena? I’ve got to step out for a minute. I have another urgent patient two doors down that I need to pop in on. Dwayne is stable right now. Can you stay with him a minute? If you see him starting to fade, just adjust this dial here and the sedative we have dripping into his system will decrease.”
Theena nodded and the doctor walked briskly out of the room.
Dwayne stared into his beloved’s eyes and his heart sank.
He knew what he had to do.
“More…” he croaked. Theena looked at him curiously. His hand raised, gesturing at the sedative container. “More…”
Theena looked alarmed.
“No. I can’t.”
“No. I’m sorry love… but no. I won’t lose you.”
Then jerked his body, screeching fires of pain racing through his veins, as his cast laden fingers mashed the dial.
He looked into those perfect eyes as everything floated back into black.
** ** **
“You’re too late.”
Marko’s grief stricken voice was like a punch to the gut. He turned around slowly, Quinz’s broken lifeless body draped in his arms. Yara walked up from the shadows, her left eye seared shut. Talu was sprawled a few feet away, coughing blood. Her right arm came to a pulpy nub end halfway down. Dwayne was shocked.
“How could this happen? I JUST left.”
“Time works differently. Not that it matters.”
“Marko. There’s still time. I’m here now. The city isn’t completely fallen.”
Yara’s angry eye studied him for a moment, then she turned to Marko.
“He’s right,” she said simply. “Go.”
“The city is what matters. We can deal with him later.”
Yara took Quinz’s body from her leader.
Marko and Dwayne stared at each other tensely.
Then Marko took to the skies and Dwayne rocketed after him.
Joshua Evans is a prolific writer and sci-fi/fantasy enthusiast who believes story is central to everything and that mythology can change the world. He currently hosts two youtube shows- The Truth About Superheroes and Comic of the Week. If you would like to further be a part of his cosmic psyche, you can join him on Twitter and Instagram (@comicsinspire) or simply subscribe to this story reel… and remember- sharing is caring! Cheers!