A/N: Keep an eye on the Site in the next couple of days for an announcement on the start date for the IndieGoGo Campaign for “The Storm Child” Arc.
Lydia was glad that she had enveloped herself and her companions in an extra shield of warmth before they teleported. When they appeared outside the Bullring Shopping Centre, the entire area was a swirling tornado of razor-sharp ice that would have sliced into her skin if she hadn’t been protected.
She put a hand on the bronze bull statue and tried to get her bearings but it was years since she’d last been there and the ice storm made visibility almost nil.
Lyd, start warming the air, her mother said telepathically. See if you can sublimate the ice rather than melting it – we don’t need a flood. Dan, can you hide us please? I’ll calm the winds.
On it, Mum, Lydia replied. She closed her eyes and began pouring gentle warmth into surrounding area. The ice began hissing and she opened her eyes to see it steaming.
I’ll try, Mum, Daniel said. But I don’t think I can hide us if we interact with anyone. Stop them recognising us in the future, maybe, but not make them unaware of us.
That’s fine, dear, she said. Now I need to concentrate. Sonia stared up into the sky and gradually the intense winds died down.
Lydia almost regretted it as she looked around. Dozens of people who had been caught in the storm were lying around the area: some groaning and clutching wounds, others ominously still. After a moment she and frowned.
There’s no police.
They’d been driven out by the rioters, her mother said. I imagine they’ll be back soon, now things have gone quiet. She turned to Tallie, George and Ebona. Do what you can for the injured while we look for whoever was doing this.
I have a fix on them, Sonia, Lucas said. And they’re distraught. Come on. He led them towards New Street Station. The glass on the automatic doors was shattered and they failed to open as they approached. They’re hiding inside. We’ll need to force the doors.
It took a few minutes effort to force the jammed doors open and make their way into the station’s main concourse. Almost immediately they heard sobbing. Not far inside the door, a teenage boy was cradling an older woman who Lydia suspected was his mother. She was covered in blood and didn’t appear to be breathing. Not far away, a slightly younger girl was peeking out of the ruins of the ticket office, her pale face streaked with tears. The older woman and both teens had walking boots on and were carrying backpacks with them, but Lydia didn’t think they’d been part of the riot.
Probably trying to get out of the city centre, Lucas said. Quite a few people live here and I can’t imagine they’d want to stay here like this. Odd though, the trains aren’t running so why come here? He knelt down by the boy. “Hey, kid.”
The boy looked up a him wildly and a blast of air twisted around him. Sonia shot out her hand and the blast calmed instantly. The boy head whipped around and stared at her with wide eyes.
“Calm down, kid.” Lucas projected soothing vibes at the boy. “We’re here to help.” He reached down and checked the older woman’s pulse in her neck before sighing and shifting her slightly to reveal an obvious knife wound. His eyes narrowed and he turned to look through the broken front of another shop, where a blonde haired young man barely older than the other boy lay dead with a bloody knife still in his hand. It looked like he’d been thrown there.
“M-mum’s dead isn’t she?” the girl managed to gasp out between sobs. “We were trying to get out of town. We have a barge and Mum thought we could walk to where it’s moored and get away to somewhere safer in it but the mob spotted us. We ran in here to hide but that guy jumped us. He wanted our packs. Mum told him that they only had food in them and tried to give him money instead and he stabbed her. Paul started screaming and everything went crazy.” She broke down sobbing again. Lydia went over and hugged her. The girl clung to her desperately.
“We should get them out of here,” Lucas said. “We can explain to them when they’re calmer.”
“You want to start kidnapping teenagers?” Sonia said. She joined Lydia by the girl. “Honey, do you and Paul have any other family?”
The girl raised her tear streaked face and stared at Sonia for a long moment before shaking her head. “Mum was an orphan and she and dad were divorced but he and most of his family died when this whole mess started. We’ve got no one.”
“Oh,” Sonia said. “I’m sorry.” She scowled to herself. “How old are you?”
“I’m fifteen; Paul’s eighteen,” she said.
“See? We’ll have to take them with us,” Lucas said. “We can’t leave them here in this state. We’ll sort them out and then find out who surviving next of kin is.”
“It’ll have to do, I suppose,” Sonia said. “I still don’t like it. Daniel, call the others and we’ll get going.â€
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