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March 21, 2012 / milesandhisfavorites

Abandoned: Inferno Part One

“Spread the flares around evenly, make sure it spreads fast.”  Those had been Orson’s orders, and Ray and Manta were going to follow them.  Neither of them ever got why James had renamed himself Orson, but the boss said he liked Ender’s Game.  Didn’t matter.  What mattered was that Ray, Manta, and the three other guys assigned to setting the fires got the job done right.  Each of them were in a different building in one city block.  Each of them had a flare gun, and they knew what they had to do.  Ray counted down from five into his walkie-talkie, and in moments, each building was on fire.  Flames spread from apartment to apartment.  The five were out of there in minutes.  Manhattan was burning.

Just like when the Sea Kings had first arrived three weeks ago, Abel and Leil were awaken rudely, only this time by a foghorn.  Sham had found one in a hardware store and used it only in emergencies.  This definitely counted.  Everyone was dressed and on the main floor of the store in minutes.  Sham began to yell above the crowd.  “Okay, people!  Quiet down!  The Sea Kings have started a fire-I don’t know how, but I assume flares were involved-and it’s spread to three blocks of the city!  Fortunately, it’s a way’s away from Times Square, but it’s spreading quickly, and the best we have are bucket brigades dredged from the Hudson, so everyone who can get moving, get moving!”

Abel and Leil, like the forty other kids and teenagers who had volunteered for the bucket brigade, raced down the street towards the fire.  The fire was only about a block away from Rockefeller Center, and about seven lines of twenty kids each had formed, attempting to keep the flames at bay.  It was sort of working, but for how long?  Soon, Abel and Leil were passing heavy buckets of river water to each other, and on towards the fire.  The forty kids were making all the difference, but the fire could only barely be contained.  It must have been an hour before the fire had even moved back a few feet.  By then, a hundred more kids had joined the bucket brigade, but the fire was still approaching the center.  Finally, the kid in the front started to slack off, weary from the endless work.  Within a minute, the flames were licking at his shoes.  A moment later, he was completely engulfed in the wall of fire.  Abel and Leil looked at each other in complete horror, but kept at it.

It took hours before Sham and the remains of his militia arrived with fireproof tarp they must have scavenged from somewhere.  They tossed it onto some of the flames, and after over five hours of continuous fighting, the fire finally started to die down, shrinking back at least a couple of city blocks.  By then it was early afternoon, but no one stopped.  It took another hour, and more fireproof tarp, but the flames were finally diminished, reduced to an alleyway or two.  Everyone was cheering, until suddenly, three flares shot just over their heads.  Sham, who was at the end of another bucket brigade, shouted “Everybody down!”  The Sea Kings had arrived.

Instantly, it was battle stations.  The younger kids retreated into alleys and doorways, while everyone over fourteen charged what must have been most of the whole tribe.  It was vicious, and within seconds, Abel and Leil had lost sight of each other.  The Sea Kings had come prepared with flare launchers and bo staffs.  On the other hand, the gathered group had only tin buckets and tarp.  It was two to one against the militia, and in only five minutes of fighting, they were forced to fall back several blocks.  Once they were safe, the Sea Kings began firing flares all over, turning Manhattan back into a blazing wasteland.

Luckily, the fires were small, but they were scattered all over the place.  It would take possibly a day or more to extinguish all of them, if the Sea Kings kept it up.  And they probably would.  Everyone had no choice but to retreat.  Back in the Toys R’ Us, Sham’s makeshift military base was in an uproar.  Tropics and Kingpins were arguing with Ravens and Red Barons.  Now that the Sea Kings were committing arson on a scale never seen before, the city didn’t stand a chance until they could take out the three main ships docked in the harbor.  Then, presumably, they could take out the flares, and thus the main source of their problems.  The only problem was that the Sea Kings had the boats heavily guarded, and a direct strike would send the enemy attacking them with whatever they had left.  After Orson’s attack on the Toys R’ Us, that wasn’t an option.

Then, the automatic doors (which had recently been put back on their track) exploded.  It looked like someone had rigged a mini July 4th celebration.  Sparks were flying into the lobby, and people were screaming.  The Sea Kings weren’t waiting for anyone to attack them.  They were coming in full force.  Everyone able to fight gathered in the lobby, ready for just about anything.  What they weren’t ready for was a person being thrown out into the street, away from view.  Nobody could see anything about her.  She had been blindfolded, bound and gagged, and for some reason, her hands were encased in oven mitts.  Suddenly,  a voice echoed from somewhere.  Nobody could figure out where.  But the voice was all too familiar to Abel and Leil.  Even in her drunken state, Leil had remembered the voice of a killer.  The voice of Orson.

“Hello again, Players!”

Sham stepped out of the crowd and shouted into the street.  “Come out so we can see your cowardly face, Orson!”

“I wouldn’t reason like that, Sham.”

Suddenly, on a sidewalk across the street, a trash can exploded.  The Sea Kings must have rigged explosives in the night somehow.

“And rest assured, the same thing will happen if any of you exit this building to free my hostage.  Now, surrender all supplies you have. I wanted far more reasonable demands earlier, but your constant stubbornness has forced my hand.  It’s either your supplies, or the hostage’s life.  And once you learn who this hostage is, you won’t be so quick to refuse.  She’s your only lifeline to the outside world.  Rather valuable, I would say.”

Then, the hood and oven mitts flew off the hostage somehow.  There must have been thin strings running off from the items that the Sea Kings pulled.  But no one gave that any thought.  The hostage had long, green-striped blonde hair.  Long spirals of pink makeup curled from the edges of her eyes, and reached to her cheeks.  But not even those traits caught anyone’s attention.  What caught everyone’s attention was that the hostage’s nails were abnormally long.

Belle.

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