Power

Nat's brother Lucas is missing in the chaos of the bomb, his twin Jacob may have something to do with the attack. But why is all of this happening?

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1. Nat

WHAM! 

The blast knocked me off my feet. I slammed down hard on my back, onto the floor.

Winded, I lay there, stunned. What was happening?

Of course. The bomb.

Lucas.

My brother’s name rang around my head like a second bomb.

I tried to move but the fiery pain that spread across my chest and back. It hurt like hell but I needed to find my brother.

Pulling myself to stand, I groaned loudly to release the pain. It was like nothing I’d ever felt in my seventeen years. Our parents had been protective of us both until they came for them. They fought for what was right, they always taught us to do the same. That’s what I dreaded what my twin, Jacob, had done. But Lucas, Jay’s little shadow, I prayed was safe.

Gasps of pain, cries of desperation, silence of death muddled the air and contaminated my thoughts. It burned my throat as the smoke crawled down it and wrapped around my lungs. My hands pressed the edge of my bloody jacket over my mouth and nose as a filter. I moved through the debris, forcing myself to look at where I was treading. Limbs were strewn into my path, I didn’t check if they were attached.

Lucas had to be a million miles from this. My little brother, the baby I’d held in my arms at the age of ten and promised to protect, cannot be dead.

I was as nearing the sweet stalls, the few that still existed these days, and hoped Lucas was going to be perched on the counter like usual with an imported chocolate bar. For a moment, I held still and surveyed the counter. I checked behind it, the next few stalls away from it, but nothing came of it.

A hand tugged at my ankle, a low mumble begged for help. Part of me, the part where Jay’s insistence that I was tougher reigned, wanted to shake the hand away and ignore it. But the rest of me that had remained untouched by his influence told me to help because I wasn’t hardened by the pain of loss like him. I was still willing to aid people where Jacob was willing to crush them.

“Help me,” the girl moaned.

Her face was covered in blood from a head wound, her blonde hair matted with crimson and the same peach coloured dress she’d been wearing when I last laid eyes on her was also patched with red that seeped through the tears in the material.

“Allie?” I said, the shock seeped into my voice.

I’d forgotten all about Allie. She had offered to search the lower end of the market for Lucas. Now she was bleeding and I had carelessly thrown her to the side. Today was supposed to be a happy day, not a day like it had turned out to be.

Desperately, I crouched down by her side and assessed the damage. She was pretty badly cut up. There were slashes littered across her exposed skin where shrapnel had buried itself, the deep gash centimetres from her hair line was going to be a problem for scarring, and there was the hidden stomach wounds I daren’t look at because I knew it wasn’t going to be good.

“It’s not as bad as it feels, right?” she asked faintly. “Don’t you think the red brings out my eyes?”

I shook my head at her feebly as shrugged my grey jacket off and pulled my shirt off. Ripping the fabric, I began patching up the worst of the bleeding.

“You’ve been hurt in the explosion yet you feel you can joke?” I sighed at her. “Jay was right about you.”

Allie furrowed her brow as well as she could. “Jay?”

“He said you were slightly crazy when we met you, he was right.”

The grey material was quickly turned red but it was the best I was able to do there in that moment.

“Not true,” she whispered back. “Did you find him or Lucas?”

I shook my head solemnly. “I was focusing on Lucas but I never found him.”

Allie lifted a limp hand and placed it in mine. “We can find them, Nat. If anybody can–”

“I need to find Lucas. Jay isn’t important right now, Allie.”

The words caught in my throat. Jacob was a secondary concern now; my twin had finally done something so bad I had finally given up trying to save him.

She stared at me in disbelief but she nodded lightly. Allie had been a part of the family ever since Jay had brought her home and announced that she was his best friend when we were five, she understood Jacob’s erratic side and laughed off the comments he made about overthrowing the government. She was pretty, Allie, but pretty in a way that didn’t intimidate anybody but was recognisable.

“I swear if Lucas is involved, I’ll kill Jacob.”

Allie’s hand felt cold in my own, similar to her expression.

“Nathan, I know you’re upset but—”

“Nothing.” I cut in. “Lucas could be dead because of that maniac.”

Allie threatened to open her mouth speak again but she turned and threw up over the floor instead. I looked the other way.

There was another girl in my new line of sight; she had a face painted with tear stains and sadness.

Allie wiped her mouth with the back of her limp hand then followed my line of sight.

“She looks exactly like Jenna when she was fifteen,” Allie mused sadly.

Jenna had been Jay’s reason for hating the world and its entire contents for the past two years. Her loss had driven my brother to the brink; he had teetered on the edge for a while until Allie had dragged him back but he’d never been the same. He hid the scars that reminded him of Jenna, of the explosion, of everything and only looked at them when he needed more fuel for his campaign.

The girl had Jenna’s slight frame and her bobbed bronze curls but Jenna had blue eyes rather than the two doe light brown this girl had. Her eyes darted around for survivors but she didn’t help them when she spotted them.

“What’s her deal?” Allie asked.

I shrugged and swept Allie up into my arms. “I don’t know but we’re taking you back home to get patched up.”

She didn’t protest against my decision so wrapped her arms around my neck. Her eyes fluttered shut.

“Allie, you’re making yourself heavier.”

She smiled weakly. “Have you ever suffered blunt force trauma? No? Then shut up.”

The girl, Jenna’s double, saw us and bolted upright. She jumped over bodies and debris with fresh determination on her face that tried to cover the sadness.

I swore under my breath, the last thing we needed was a straggler.

“I need help,” she said in a quiet voice. “The bomb killed my mum and I don’t know what to do.”

Allie looked up at me. She read my mind before I’d even known what I was thinking.

“You can’t leave the poor girl out here; they’ll do a sweep and make her go to the facilities for homeless kids.”

I sighed, even with Allie as beat up as she was; I had to do as she said.

“What’s your name?”

“Charlie,” she replied. “I’m nearly sixteen.”

I nodded. “That must be nice. I take it your name is short for Charlotte?”

“It’s just Charlie.” Her eyes had a refreshed look about them. “My mum calls…called me Lottie but I’d rather you call me Charlie.”

I began walking out of the back entrance to avoid the security, we needed to find Lucas.

“You can stay with Allie’s family,” I told Charlie. “They’ll look after you.”

Allie made some noise of agreement but remained with her eyes closed.

Charlie started to match my pace. “What’s your name?”

“Nat. This is Allie.”

Allie gave a small, distant smile. “I would get up but I have reasons to stay laid here.”

“Why are you leaving those other people behind?” Charlie inquired. She frowned at me as if she wasn’t able to make up her mind whether I was the right person to trust.

“We’re looking for my brother,” I said plainly. I shot her a side glance. “And we don’t need stragglers.”

She pursed her lips at my comment but kept on walking. Her eyes wandered about the streets. There were panicked people who rushed frantically towards the indoor market but beyond that, the more permanent fixtures were in ruin. The shop signs were peeling, some windows were cracked, and doors had been kicked in. It looked like we’d all just upped and left.

Allie made a groan which made me pick up my pace. The hideout was only a few streets away from here; we’d be there in a minute if we ran.

“Can you run?”

Charlie nodded, bemused by my question. She was not used to this life.

I began to jog, testing the pace of this newcomer, then began to run when I saw that she could keep up.

“When we get there,” I said with heavy breathing, “they’ll want to know who you are, some identification and a secret.”

“A secret?”

The doors were in sight, the grey tarnished metal had never looked so welcoming. The warehouse was huge, unwelcoming and maze-like. It was exactly what we needed for the operation, exactly what Jacob wanted for his own plans to happen, exactly what Lucas liked for his hide and seek games.

“Why do they need a secret?”

Her pale face creased, sweat dripped from her forehead.

I smiled at her for the first time at her. “In case they ever need it.”

Ignoring her questions, I kicked the door and waited for somebody to come. It took a few seconds for the door to fly open. Isaac and a girl I recognised as being his sister, called Laura or Lauren or Lorna, nodded for us to enter. I guessed her name was Laura because the others didn’t seem right. I shouted for the medic team to collect Allie as they patted Charlie down.

Some white dressed people scooped Allie onto a hospital bed. One jabbed a needle into her arm as the other placed an oxygen mask onto her face.

“Thanks,” she muttered to me before they rushed her off, it fogged up the plastic which faded to reveal her fading smile.

I turned back around to find Isaac and Laura waiting for me to complete Charlie’s entry forms. Being my ‘guest’, she was my responsibility. Laura thrust a clipboard into my hand with a pen attached. The form was one I’d designed with the complex questions, the whole system of secrets was my invention.

“Full name,” I said. I tapped the board rapidly.

“Charlie Davenport.”

“I said full name, it’s for the background check.”

She glared at me which was hard not to laugh. “Charlotte Elizabeth Anne Davenport.”

“Pretty name,” Laura commented softly. Despite the gun, she was quite a sweet person from what I remembered of her.

“Your last address?”

“23B York Street.”

I nodded as I mentally went to the address; I’d passed it every day on the way to school for the last few years. We had to do the school thing – to avoid raising suspicion.

I stared at the question below. ‘Your parents, siblings, and other close blood relations we should inform in the case of your death or emergency contact.’

“Allie’s family live at 124 Stockbridge so it’s not far from your old house, they’ll be your foster family until other relatives are traced and you can be safely transferred.”

“Stop talking to me like I’m a parcel you have to deliver,” she cried. “I just lost my mum.”

She clapped a sleeved hand over her mouth and began to wail like it was finally a reality for her. Laura swung the gun over her shoulder and began to rub her back soothingly, the way a mother comforts an ill child.

Isaac slipped over to me. “What happened with Allie? And Jay? And Lucas?”

I shook my head. “Jay is God knows where, Lucas – I’m going back out for, and Allie was caught in the blast. She’ll be fine, she’s a tough cookie.”

“I don’t know who you’re trying to convince more, Nat, you or me.”

He patted my shoulder and gestured to the form.

“Doesn’t she need to finish the rest of it off?”

I nodded and crossed out the relevant boxes for her.

“Bit soon for her though,” Isaac continued. “But it was too soon for almost all of us. We were only fourteen and twelve when we lost our mum, I feel for her.”

“She can’t stay, Isaac,” I said sharply. “She isn’t one of us.”

He frowned at me. “Nat, she hasn’t got anybody left.”

“We have enough problems, Isaac. Trust me on this, won’t you? Allie’s parents will look after her. She’s too young to be bringing into this mess.”

He played with the idea; the thought was tossed around in his mind as he decided whether it was right or not.

“Fine,” he agreed, he hesitated before he smirked. “And my sister’s name is Laurie. Nat, will you ever remember that?”

Charlie appeared to stop crying for a short time, only her heavy hiccup breaths remained.

“One more question,” I said to her.

Laurie backed off and walked away with Isaac when they knew what it was.

“Yes?”

“What’s your secret?”

She stood and faced me; her shaking overcame her body at times, waves of grief, my mother used to call it. Some waves were more forceful than others; they fought for attention and mostly won.

The words took their time as they formed on her lips.

“I told my mum I hated her,” she swallowed hard before she added, “and it was the last thing I ever said to her.”

I shook my head.

“I told my dad I hated him last week but I don’t hate him, she knew you loved her, Charlie.”

She nodded like a puppet might.

Then the secret hit her.

“My dad died trying to save me, my mum said it was in an accident but I found out the truth last month. The government were trying to take me for something, testing I think, but Dad made out I didn’t survive my first month. They killed him for the trouble and Mum fled to the newer side of London. The document said we’d changed our names.”

I jot the few notes I needed down.

“Good,” I replied.

“Good?” she echoed. “What part of that was ‘good’?”

“The truth part.”

A knock at the door dragged my attention away from the clipboard. I shoved it back onto the makeshift desk and waited for whoever Isaac and Laurie dragged in. Charlie tried to silently conceal her grief.

Put when Laurie screamed for the medics, I knew it wasn’t good. I darted to the door. But nothing had ever prepared me for what I saw.

Lucas.

His limp, bloody boy body covered in dust was in my twin’s arms. He had tears that streamed down his cheeks as he stared at me. Lucas was the only thing we both ever held dear at the same time.

Medics dashed in with another trolley bed, Jay laid him down and began telling them about how he’d been blown back by the blast, he’d hit his head and was in some form of coma. They nodded and repeated the same actions with him as they had done with Allie. They rushed him away from our sights.

“I was looking for you and him,” I yelled at Jacob. “What the hell have you done?”

He gave me a stony glare. “I had my duty for Jenna.”

“If that’s what you’d call it. You’ve just killed hundreds of people!”

Jacob laughed but it held no humour, it was cold and unamused.

“You really believe that bomb was mine, Nat? Where’s your faith in me?”

But his eyes caught Charlie who he hadn’t seen before. He stared at her and I was almost able to pluck his thoughts from his mind.

“Allie and I have already said she looks like Jenna.”

“No,” he said calmly. “She looks like Jenna, I know. But that isn’t it.”

He walked closer to her yet was far enough away from her to stop it being weird.

“How old are you?” he asked.

“Nearly sixteen,” she whispered. Her eyes zipped to mine and looked for reassurance.

He bit his lower lip. Jay turned back to me and placed his hands on my lower arms. My mind raced as Lucas, Allie and everything rushed around it. I had no time for his games.

“What?”

“Do you remember why this started?” Jay questioned me.

I opened my mouth, unsure if Charlie was supposed to hear it.

“Our parents wanted to find the kids who the government had tracked because they were… special.”

“To protect kids with powers, like Lucas, right?” he stated. “Well, there was one who started it all, she looks exactly like Jenna, Nat. Jenna’s little sister was a Power but she never said anything else about her because her mum had fled and took her with her.”

Jenna had been raised by her grandparents because her dad was dead and her mum was, supposedly, dead too.

“Her sister was called Hannah and she had a scarlet birthmark under her right eye, Jenna always said she’d know Hannah if she ever saw her again,” Jacob said. “But this could be it. If she was the first Power to be born…”

I finally understood what he was saying.

“This is who we need to complete the plan.” 

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