They were shooting from the rafters. Gunfire rang on the metal and stone of the elevator. Emmaline sprang out, lifted air, and whirled it into a massive invisible shield. Bullets and arrows froze mid-trajectory.
“Run!” she screamed, beads of sweat already running into the drops of blood on her brow. “Run!” The shots made them deaf again a hundred times over. The movies had huge battles, thought Tracer, but they only had bows and swords. This is worse. Main characters in the movies couldn’t die. They weren’t in a movie. This was real. And they were going to die.
Tracer summersault-dove around the corner. He shot back, startled and empowered by the thing in his hands. Bang. Ratta-ratta. Guards swarmed on dozens of walkways, ferocious ants ready to bite. The gun stomped them out. They dropped like flies. Emma danced forward and back, covering them from the sky as they shot at the ones on the ground. How Tracer wished he were a ninja.
Guns everywhere flashed. Rapid fire. Chaos. Screaming. Raven screaming. Jumping. Ducking behind machines and into passageways through the stone pillars. Tables for shields. Fire back. Down one passage and another, into one mini-room and another, always watching the skies and shooting from the ground. The room was so very long.
Bang, bang. Kael grabbed Gator’s shoulder and shot behind his back as they ran. Falcon went sideways shooting, Wayk and Raven running behind him, hiding behind rocks and machines. They became too spread out. Emma couldn’t cover all of them anymore. Bullets embedded themselves into metal sheets just inches from their heads. Soldiers jumped out from behind everything. They shot at them and swung swords, and red spilled on the stone floor. They screamed without thinking. Raven cried. The room was very long.
Twang. Bang. Bang. Ping. The rain of arrows flying towards them became too much for Emma’s hands. Her arms paled and the air turned to a shimmering globe. Arrows came. They vaporized. Ash particles drifted through the air. The room was very long.
Ratta-ratta. Pow, pow, pow. Emmaline stood in front of them, holding off the attack, running ahead with one hand while guiding them down the narrow halls to the tunnel at the far end of the massive storage area. Tracer’s teeth rattled in his head, little bits of ash landing on him. An arrow missed his head and struck a pipe stretching up to the ceiling. It spewed a blue mist on the soldiers jumping out behind him. They fell to their knees, screaming.
Still turning and running and stopping and turning, Emma’s arms shook, hands rigid. The onslaught poured on her. Bullets, arrows vanished, deflected, combusted, melted. The ground surrounding her ever-shifting feet was littered with hot remnants of metal and wood. Beads of sweat trickled down from her hairline like rain on a window. She wouldn’t last much longer. The end was so near: a tunnel in the far wall, their way out. No Guards. Not yet.
In a spontaneous moment of genius, Emma made metal tools fly up to the catwalks and knock soldiers over, whacking their guns from their hands. One got hit in the face.
“Nice one, Em! Right between the eyes!” Tracer couldn’t help but grin as Emmaline glanced back at him. Her skin glowed and a faint smile formed in her eyes. She backed towards him, shielding them without fail. Tracer thought suddenly, We might actually get out of here!
A concussive silence engulfed them. Tracer could hear his own thoughts again. Emma paused in her dance of defense down the row of metal racks and machines, hands still sculpting the air. There was nothing but his heartbeat.
Then he heard it. A faint whizzing noise. Wings.
The hornets. The hyper-bugs.
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