Forbidden Fire-newFrom Forbidden Fire: Lucy 

Mr. Black threw Lucy against the white brick wall in an interrogation room. Before she could clear her ears of the buzzing, his fist crashed into her cheek and sent an explosion of pain through her head.

She raised her leg to kick him, but fell back, too dizzy and disoriented to stay on her feet.

He yelled, but it took a moment for Lucy to make sense of the words. “You little piece of shit. You put this whole operation at risk by disobeying orders!”

Another fist. A kick. Every part of her body swelled under the torment.

“You also put my job at risk, and that is not tolerable. They have let you little shits run around doing what you want for too long. Well, not under my watch.”

Blood filled her mouth. Tears streaked her face. Her lungs expanded and collapsed only with an effort that took all her strength.

There had to be a way to fight him.

She willed him to lie, to get on his walkie-talkie and say he needed backup. Anything to distract him.

Nothing happened.

Just more punches, more slaps, more kicks.

She fell to the floor.

She pushed again.

Mr. Black didn’t stop.

She tried to sit up, but couldn’t. She wrapped her arms around her head and let him beat her.

“Get up. Get up and fight me, you bitch.”

He kicked her ribs, and sharp bites of pain spread through her. She screamed out, but still couldn’t move.

She spat on his shoe—the only way she could fight back. “Kill me if you think that’ll make you a real man.” She coughed. So hard to get air. “Such a hero, beating up kids. Your family must be proud.”

He leaned over and spat in her face. Rather than enrage him further, her taunts seemed to calm him.

“I’m not going to kill you, bitch. It wouldn’t make a difference. You’re not going to be here long anyways.”

He smiled like the oily bastard he was, and left Lucy lying on the ground, broken and bloody.

No one helped her. No one cared.

Time held no meaning. She slipped in and out of consciousness. Darkness had fallen by the time she finally managed to stand and walk—Mr. Black had taken her to the interrogation room early in the day.

Lucy wished real life came with a soundtrack as she stumbled to her dorm. For this scene, she would’ve played something by Clint Mansell, one of his beautiful instrumental compositions suited a miserable walk home.

Imaginary music filled the air around her. She tried to hum with it, but couldn’t spare the extra breath.

She entered her suite and collapsed onto the couch.

*   *   *

“Luce? Lucy? Oh my God, what happened to you? Who did this?”

Luke stood over her, but he was blurry. No, wait, her eyes didn’t work. Why wouldn’t they open all the way?

“Lucy, don’t move. You’re hurt, bad. Just… stay still. I’m going to get the nurse.”

Darkness came again. Fists—so many fists—slamming into me again and again. Her dream cry turned real when hands pressed into her bruises, jolting her awake.

A calm voice soothed her. “Shh. It’s okay. I’m giving you something to help. It’s experimental, but it should have you right as rain in no time.”

Images flickered in and out of her mind until cohesive thought returned to her. When she opened her eyes again, and fully, she saw Luke asleep on the floor next to the couch.

“Luke, wake up.”

He sat up and hugged her as he might hug a butterfly. “You look a lot better. That drug could make them a fortune in the professional boxing circuit.”

Lucy laughed, and it didn’t hurt as much as she had expected. Like being kicked in the ribs rather than stabbed with a knife—now that’s improvement!

Luke brushed a stray hair out of her eyes. “Who did this to you?”

“Mr. Black. It was payback for botching the operation.”

Luke balled his fists and hopped up. “I’m going to kill him, right now. I’m going to smash his face in until it isn’t a face anymore.”

“Bro, believe me, no one wants to bash his skull in more than me, but we can’t. It’d be a suicide mission, and then we’d lose all chance of helping our friends.” She reached for his hand and pulled him to sit next to her. “It’s time for another meeting. Do you think you can do that shield thing again? You know, the way you blocked the bullets with your new power? Because I have an idea.”

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