The Mind Manifest Part 9
I put my necklace back on and hurried along in the direction the sensation came from, cutting through the forest with no regard for fences or propriety lines, the sound of Yevonna right behind and on my heels. The feel of this sprint, of the twigs and leaves on my bare feet, the wind rushing past my wings, and the smells and the sounds of the forest, if it weren't for being dead set on my mission, I'm sure I'd have been able to run like that for hours.
I slid to the stop at the sound of gunfire, Yevonna slamming into me from behind, sending us both to the ground. I waved for her to come beside me as more gunfire rang out "Damn, I know that sound, that's assault rifles, what the hell would they be doing around here?"
"I dunno, assaulting something?"
The was a ridge just in front of us, so I approached carefully on all fours, instinct seeming to dominate my actions now as I drew near the top. I peeked over the top just as I felt another tug, like before, and when I looked in the direction it came from, I saw muzzle flashes, a S.W.A.T. team was in a full shootout with someone bunkered in a barn.
I was powerless to do anything as several tear gas grenades were tossed in, and moments later, the gunfire stopped. A couple seconds later, I felt the sensation again, stronger than ever. Just as I felt it, I heard Yevonna gasp, and I looked over to her to see her clutching her chest "You felt it too?"
"Yes, it's like they're calling out for help."
I looked back over to the barn, and saw them dragging something out of the barn. It struggled, and one of the officers bludgeoned it in the head with the butt of their rifle, and when they did, I felt something, Yevonna was right, it was a distress call. I so badly wanted to help, but it would be stupid to go out there, they'd shoot on sight. I figured we could wait, until Yevonna screamed out "We have to help them, they're dying!" and sprinted away.
I was once again helpless, she was taken out before she even got close, two tazer darts in the chest, and she was down. I felt that sensation again, that distress call, and it peaked as she looked back at me, just before she passed out from the electricity. I was nearly in tears, there was nothing I could do but watch as she was likewise dragged away and loaded into a van.
I just sat there on the verge of tears for nearly half an hour, until I finally couldn't take it anymore, I could have stopped her, I could have restrained her, but I was more worried about myself, and now she was likely going to be experimented on and dissected, all because of me.
Several minutes later, I was completely in tears when I heard it, a shotgun cocking, directly behind me. I turned around slowly to see a man wearing a detective's badge, and I was looking down the barrel of his 12 gauge. We just stared silently at each other for a second, until I saw his nose wrinkling, and his eyes watering. A couple seconds later, he sneezed. Whatever twist of fate set off his allergies had just bought me an opening.
I rolled to my feet, whipping my tail out behind me, hitting what I hoped was the barrel of his gun, and I took off at a dead run towards the barn, and something just took over, like it was pushing me out of the pilot's seat, and it took control. My wings opened of their own accord, flapping with all their might, and I lifted off the ground.
My victory was short lived, though. Before I was even ten feet in the air, a boom rolled through the air, and piercing pain rolled through my body. I fell back to Earth in agony, bullet holes in both wings, I had just caught a full blast of buckshot, and it was all I could muster to not hurt myself more when I hit the ground at high speed.
I choked and gagged, the wind knocked out of me, but except for the holes in my wings, I didn't feel anything broken or out of place. I tried to get back up, but a second shot rang out, and it clipped my left wing, tearing the membrane further apart. When I looked at it, something caught my attention, though the membrane was in ribbons, the limb itself was unharmed, my scales were able to deflect the buckshot, but that didn't stop it from hurting incredibly bad.
from behind me, a voice rang out "Go on, get back up, just try it!"
I didn't try, I just laid there. Except for the pain, and my wings being rendered useless, I was still unharmed to my knowledge, but that was no reason to allow myself to get shot a third time.
I heard footsteps approaching behind me, but they stopped short "Don't think I'm an idiot, I know those didn't get any penetration, get back up, mutant!"
"Why, so you can shoot me again?"
"What the hell, you can talk?"
I rolled onto my back, wincing in pain as my wounded wing was forced into an uncomfortable position, and replied "Of course I can talk, what, did you think I was just some dumb animal?"
He got closer, and aimed the gun at my face, and I stared down the barrel at him, that same thing happened again, I was pushed to the backseat, and I spoke involuntarily "If you plan to shoot me, you may as well do it, it's better than letting you cart me off to be experimented on again."
He lowered the gun, and seemed to be in shock "You're perfectly coherent, you're not insane at all."
"No shit, although I am in a lot of pain."
I started to try to get to my feet, but pain shot up my leg, I had sprained my ankle in the landing, and it was now beginning to swell. I had no choice, I got to all fours, and kept my foot off the ground, standing on one leg and both arms, which were serving as forelegs. A pose which, as I looked at it, seemed to look more natural than standing on two legs.
I looked back up at the detective, and he was thoroughly examining me "I was told that the mutants were savage and bloodthirsty, but you fled, and you're sentient, what makes you so different?"
"I'm not different, that fox that was taken, she was just as sentient as me."
"That thing charged us, it was ready to maul someone."
"That thing has a name, Yevonna, and she was running in because the creature you took before sent out a distress call, a call Yevonna and I answered, I think you've been misinformed."
"And why didn't you run in, too?"
"Because I'm smart enough not to run headlong at someone holding an assault rifle."
"I have to report this, go over to the car, I'm going to call in a van."
I had actually been starting to think I might be able to reason with this man, but talking about the van terrified me as images of being dissected while still alive started coursing through my head. I started feeling panicked, and everything I looked at suddenly registered as either a weapon or an escape route. It took conscious effort to form the words "No, you can't, they'll kill me!"
"You're going to be dead in a couple days anyways, just like all the others."
I snapped out of my momentary panic "what?"
"You're lucky you're still awake and alert, every mutant slips into a coma and dies after we catch them, we're still trying to find a way to keep them sustained longer."
Was the government really that dense, had they not realized that they need the crystals to stay alive? "You damn dumb fools! It's the crystals you idiot!"
"Yes, we pieced that together, the crystals cause the transformation, they came down in the meteors."
"No no no, not that, we need to keep them, or we die."
I tore off my necklace "look! Here! This is the crystal that changed me, if I lost it, I'd be dead in a matter of days, I figured it out on my own in a single evening, are you telling me that the entire United States government is too dense to figure that one out after nearly a week?"
"I guess so, but it's not my call to make, I'll call in the extraction team, and tell them you're a special case."
"No! you were obviously ordered to shoot on sight, that shows you what they think of us, I can't go into their hands, I'll get cut open so they can find out why I'm not insane, and you know it!"
"Again, not my call, now move."
He brought the shotgun back up, and the panic came back. My mind began racing. Flight? No, my wings were shredded. Run? No, I had an injured ankle. Fight? What was I thinking, he was a cop, and I could never do that, he's just doing his job. I was running out of choices as he ordered me over to his cruiser again, and I began hyperventilating…ventilating…that was my way out.
I tensed the back of my throat, and the spark formed right on cue as I released the flammable gas like I had done in the shower, but this time it wasn't just a mouthful, I was expelling it as hard as I could, and the heat that came from it was immense, like I had stuck my head in an oven. I started feeling my face burning, and I stopped, steam rolling out of my mouth, likely from my own boiled saliva. The officer was on the ground, rolling to put out the flames that were now on his clothing, as well as a good sized triangle of burning grass on the ground.
I had my opening, and I took it, I limped as quickly as I could for the treeline, but a shot rang out, a pistol, not a shotgun, and a strong force hit the back of my head, making everything go black.