Bumble(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 1)(37) by Connie Suttle
* * *
"I made scrambled eggs and toast. I hope that won't upset your stomach."
"Rather have pancakes," Ashe mumbled, pushing himself up with his left elbow. The whole right arm shook, shivered and pained him if he jogged it even a little.
"I don't think that would be good for you right now," Adele said, setting the tray over Ashe's lap. "When you're better, I'll make all the pancakes you want."
"Maybe Sali should pretend to be sick if it'll get him what he wants to eat," Ashe smiled weakly at his mother.
"You look a little flushed. Are you sure you're not feverish?"
"No, I was thinking cold and clammy. When can I take a bath?" Ashe asked.
"I have some of those waterproof bandages that David left for you. We can cover up the wound with those. Do you think you can stand up long enough?"
"We have that plastic stool in the kitchen," Ashe pointed out. "It's a good thing I'm left-handed. I can wash myself."
"Then I'll get the stool and we'll see about getting you cleaned up."
Ashe was exhausted but feeling better after the shower. He'd been embarrassed that his mother had to help him, but eventually let her shampoo his hair because he couldn't do it very well one-handed. He got a good look at his wound, too, the front one, anyway. His mother said the one on the back was worse, since it was the exit wound. The phone rang while Ashe was settling back in bed. Adele went to answer it. Ashe heard every word when Denise DeLuca explained that somehow, Randy Smith had managed to escape. Ashe smiled and closed his eyes.
* * *
Something was pounding on the roof in Ashe's dream. Hard. He reminded himself that he was underground and safe, but the pounding continued. Eyes popping open, Ashe heard the rush of wind.
"Ashe, I think it's another tornado," Adele rushed in and knelt next to Ashe's bed. "That's hail hitting the roof, and it's almost the size of baseballs."
"Mom, it's okay, we're underground," Ashe tried to soothe his mother; she was shaking. She'd been through so much, lately, and this wasn't going to help.
"But what about the others?" Adele was worried for the rest of Cloud Chief. Not all of them had underground rooms or storm shelters.
"The electricity is still on," Ashe said, just before it blinked and went out. "We're okay," Ashe spoke into the darkness.
* * *
"Into the hallway, everyone!" Mrs. Rocklin shouted as the winds rose outside. Sali, glancing through a window, saw the trees at the edge of the school grounds whipping wildly. He scooted toward the door.
"Sali!" Marco grabbed his younger brother and shoved him into the floor against a cinderblock wall. Marco dropped on top of Sali, holding him, Cori and Wynn as tightly as he could; they'd all knelt down beside Sali. Others were doing the same, older ones hunching over the younger, teachers included.
"It's coming!" Mr. Dodd shouted as the roof of Cloud Chief Combined lifted away and was ground to bits by whirling winds.
* * *
"Ashe, I have to check on the others," Adele was still frightened but prepared to go help the others if help was needed.
"Go on, Mom, I'll be okay here," Ashe assured her. "Make sure Sali's okay. And Cori and everybody else."
"I will. Don't try to get up by yourself, Ashe. I'll be back as quick as I can."
Ashe nodded as his mother hurried out of his bedroom. Listening carefully, Ashe knew when his mother reached the kitchen, and moments later heard the kitchen door shut and the garage door lift up. Their house was still intact, it seemed. Normally, Adele would have set the alarm for the upper floor, but she was likely too distracted. Ashe wasn't sure he could climb the stairs to do it himself. It likely wouldn't matter anyway; his mother would be back soon. Ashe closed his eyes to sleep.
* * *
"No!" Denise DeLuca screamed as she flung herself out of the small car. The school was nearly gone, many classrooms had collapsed and she could find no immediate signs of life. Adele drove up moments later and nearly fell when she climbed out of Aedan's new SUV.
"Denise, we have to go look. We have to," Adele grabbed her friend's arm and led her toward the school building. Denise had stood, petrified at what the damage might mean. Both her boys had been inside. Other vehicles were arriving as Adele found the front steps of the school amid the rubble. More than anything, Adele wished that her vampire husband were there. Lifting walls and sections of heavy brick would be nothing to his strength. Instead, they had to make do with what they had.
"Any signs of life?" Mr. Winkler arrived with Marcus and Micah, heaving away concrete blocks and other debris, flinging it aside. "Hello!" he shouted. "Can anyone hear us?"
"Help!" Marcus recognized Greta Rocklin's voice. More people came, including two Adele didn't recognized.
"Not to fear, we will deal with this," one of them said. Adele stared in shock as the two of them, slightly pointed ears and all, held out their hands, lifting debris up with considerable power and sliding it through the air as if it were dandelion fluff. It fell with a crashing thump onto a deserted portion of the schoolyard.
"What the?" Marcus stared.
"Elemaiya," Mr. Winkler grunted, lifting away one of the heavy front doors and tossing it aside. There in the hallway, lined up along a section of cinderblock walls that still stood, was every student from Cloud Chief Combined, alive and unhurt.
"Thank God," Denise DeLuca muttered before falling to the ground in a faint.
* * *
The door beeped when it opened, just as it always did. His mother was home. The sound woke Ashe, and he was just about to settle into a doze again when he heard the voices.
"Perfect opportunity," one of the voices said. Ashe recognized it, all right. Had heard it every one of his seven years at Cloud Chief Combined. "Set the charges, and we'll still have time to get Nathan Anderson while the rest of them are at the school."
Charges? Ashe was sitting up and frightened in the space of a blink. They were setting charges? They were going to kill him and his father. And Radomir, and Nathan Anderson. Ashe heard them walking above his head. Three of them. Terrified, Ashe gathered clothing and a few other items before he went to mist, rushing through the underground portion of his home and diving downward once he reached his parents' bedroom.
Ashe hurtled away from his home as three men walked out of it and climbed into a vehicle Ashe recognized. Mom! He shouted mentally. Mr. Winkler! Mr. DeLuca! They're about to blow up the house, and then they're going to blow up the Andersons! Ashe was flying as swiftly as he could toward Nathan Anderson's home, hoping with everything in him that his mist would protect vampires in sunlight.
Nathan was gathered inside Ashe's mist and he was already flying skyward when the vehicle arrived in the Anderson's driveway. Ashe heard the boom behind him as his home was destroyed. Afraid to look back, Ashe flew high over the school and saw the devastation there while people were milling about it like ants. After the explosion marking the destruction of his home, some of those ants were loading into trucks and cars and skidding away from the school, driving swiftly toward his and Nathan Anderson's homes. Ashe hoped they'd catch the ones responsible before they got away.
Marcus was driving like a madman, with Winkler beside him in the locksmith's van. Two others that Marcus still had difficulty coming to terms with were sitting in the back. They had nearly reached Nathan's house when the second explosion rocked the ground beneath them, almost causing the van to slide off the graveled path. Mr. Winkler uttered a curse when Marcus skidded to a stop in the Anderson's front yard and jumped from the van.
"No," Marcus whispered, falling to his knees. The house had been blown apart, the lower levels, including Nathan's underground bunker were exposed to daylight, and the rest of the house was on fire. Lavonna Anderson, who'd driven up right behind Marcus, was screaming Nathan's name the moment she flung herself from the car. Dori and Cori, both in tears and looking frightened, were hugging against their mother.
"Is Ashe dead, too?" Sali had come with his mother and Marco. Now, they all stared at the smoldering remains of the Anderson's house as more rain began to fall.
"That first blast was probably the Evans' home," Winkler muttered grimly. "Come," he grabbed both of the strange men by the scruff, dragging them toward Marcus' van. "We'll be back," he said. Marcus, no longer paying attention to anything Winkler did, failed to respond.
* * *
"I had to sedate her." David Lang was back and talking to Denise DeLuca inside the DeLuca's kitchen. Adele Evans was lying on the sofa inside Denise's living room. She'd been screaming and crying, almost from the moment she'd seen the ruins of her home.
"Did we really hear Ashe's voice, just before?" Marcus raked fingers through his dark hair.
"Yeah, Dad. You did. And that's not all Ashe could do, either." Marco had an untouched bottle of soda in front of him at the kitchen table. "Dad, where are Cori and her family right now?"
"At the O'Neill's, with Sharon and Jonas. Sharon says they're not doing very well, either."
"Can I go see them?"
"Son, whoever did this is still out there. I talked to Winkler half an hour ago. They're still looking, but they haven't found anything yet. I don't want anyone leaving the house. We could all be targets."
"Then I'll call over there and see if Cori is all right."
"Use my cell, the land-lines are still out of service from the tornado," Marcus handed the phone to his oldest son.
"Ashe, you can't be dead," Sali stroked the edges of his Frisbee, the round disk bearing tooth marks from too many games with his friend to count. Sali was huddled in his bed, shoes and all, feeling numb. For the first time in a very long time, he felt sick instead of hungry.
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