Artana: Part 2

She made her way to a towering grey brick building, and went through the glass doors into the lobby. She nodded to the receptionist as she walked by, and pressed her purse up against a black panel adjacent to the elevator. A light on the panel turned green, and the doors opened up. She repeated the process on a panel inside the elevator, and hit the ‘7’ button.

She sighed with relief as the doors opened, and went for her apartment. She once again repeated the ritual with the black box on her doorknob, and the black box once again complied. She had previously questioned the idea of having 3 layers of security that are effectively the same thing. If someone finds a way around one black box, they have their way around the whole system. However, the landlord wasn’t particularly interested in talking security.

“Hey, Ash! You home?” She called into the apartment, but received no reply, as expected. She sat her purse down on the couch, and plopped down next to it.

She relaxed for a moment, before removing the necklace and book from her bag. The book was reminiscent of one of those pocket bibles they gave everyone at school, the ones that everyone threw away. It was dark red, and on the front it just had an eight-spoked wheel, like the necklace.

She opened it up and began reading. Immediately she noticed the book was written in Cyrillic, most likely russian. She thumbed through some more, to see if there were any pictures or anything comprehensible. While she could run the whole book through a translator, she would really rather not.

She eventually found an image of a man making hand gestures, while wearing the necklace. She looked briefly around the apartment, to ensure she was alone. She wasn’t about to start doing weird Russian yoga poses if someone was going to jump in on her.

Once she was confident, she put on the necklace. It was a regular necklace chain, with a latch on the back. The pendant was a simple eight-spoked wheel of some kind of metal. She glanced back down at the book, and struck the pose. She went to a comfortable standing position, into a lunge. She held both of her arms straight out. One of her hands was open palm, facing forwards, while the other was closed fist with her index finger pointing. The open palm was on top of the pointing hand.

A fine red beam of light erupted from her finger, and went forward onto her wall. This was physically impossible. She didn’t have any kind of powers, but she was doing something like this. She held the pose for a moment, in awe, but a small flame erupted where the light was hitting.

Arte swore, and leapt into action. Adrenaline coursed through her veins, and her heart raced. She grabbed a towel, and set about to beating the flame into submission. There was a charred black spot about the size of her spread hand. Upon further examination, it appeared that the light had burned a hole in the wall. She tried to clean off some of it, but she couldn’t make any significant progress, so she gave up.

She couldn’t believe what had happened. Ashley was gonna kill her. That security deposit wasn’t cheap.

Arte waited another half hour, until she began to feel hungry. She glanced down at her phone, and saw Ashley still hadn’t replied to her texts. She began to feel worried. This wasn’t like her, to be so late with no communication. She pressed the call button. The phone rang for a moment, then went to voicemail.

“Hey Ash, it’s me, Arte. Where are you at? You’re running kinda late. Give me a call. Love you.” She hung up the phone and sighed.

She waited five more minutes before deciding to make dinner. She rummaged through the cupboards, pantry, and fridge for a moment, then decided on pan-fried chicken with some macaroni and cheese. Real food wasn’t too expensive, if you were willing to put in a little effort. She decided to go ahead and make enough for two. Worst case scenario she gets leftovers for tomorrow.

About twenty minutes of cooking later, she was finally done. The chicken was a little on the done side, but it still looked edible. The notification light on her phone flashed in the corner of her eye. She ran over, but it was just an email. Another company wanting to offer her a ‘deal’ on car insurance.

She decided to give her another call. She was more than an hour late now, and radio silence wasn’t like her. She pressed call, but was met with the same result.

“Hey Ash, it’s me again. I made dinner, and there’s enough for you. I’m getting a little worried, so give me a call. Love you.” She hung up the phone.

She sat down at the table and began to eat. There was no sense in letting both of their dinners go cold. She pulled out her phone, to browse some good distracting social media. It quickly became apparent that there had been some kind of shooting.

Her mind immediately rushed to the worst possibility. She reassured herself that it was basically impossible, and set about doing some research as to what happened.

She began to gather some bits and pieces of what happened. Evidently it was an attack on an office, in her city no less. She finally found a decent article about what happened. That was Ashley’s office.

Tears welled in her eyes. She wanted to scream, but she couldn’t make a sound. The world fell to pieces around her.

She jumped to her feet and ran out the door.

 


 

< Previous Part ——————– Where’s Superzeroes?

 

Hope you enjoyed. That’ll be it for this, for now. It will be back, but I don’t want to spoil anything.

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