Revenge of the ULTRAs (The Last Hero Book 4) (2 page)

BOOK: Revenge of the ULTRAs (The Last Hero Book 4)
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3

O
f all the
kinds of attacks in the world, terrorist attacks were definitely my least favorite.

I felt my stomach churn. No wonder. It was nine o clock back in America and I still hadn’t had any damned breakfast. I’d been sitting in a diner with Ellicia too, but that’d gone to shit the second I’d gone to bite into my juicy axon and seen the news of the attack in Kenya.

I’d shot back home. Suited up in my new, bulletproof Glacies gear, funded by a coalition of governments around the world.

Then I’d headed to Kenya and… well, here I was.

In the midst of stopping a terrorist attack, sure. But bacon-free.

Dammit.

I walked out of the music store and headed back to the main shopping center. There were lots of bodies on the floor, which made my skin crawl. People were crying. I tried to ignore the blood. I had to focus. I had a job to do.

The good thing? The gunmen all seemed to be down. I’d dealt with them one by one, taken them down rapidly. Sure, the last one had come close to putting some bullets into a poor old woman and her grandkids, but I’d stopped him too and helped them out of the fire escape.

But I wasn’t leaving yet because I wasn’t finished.

I walked over the fallen bodies and looked down onto the bottom floor of the mall.

I saw the fire burning over by the main door. I’d seen that on the news, and it was at that moment that I knew there was something more to this terrorist attack than just terrorists. The way that explosion had erupted in thin air. And the way a girl had stood outside while that’d happened.

There was no doubt in my mind that an ULTRA was responsible for this.

I heard gunfire and felt bullets pelt my left side.

I spun around. The bullets bounced off my costume, but they still packed a punch. Over by the back of the mall, three more armed men ran out, all of them with Kalashnikovs, all of them firing in my direction.

I walked towards them, activating a shield around myself. “Seriously?”

Then I lifted them into the air, opened up a wormhole underneath them, effortlessly, and cast them into it.

I could still hear their screams echoing long after they’d disappeared.

I heard something else then. Something behind me. Footsteps.

When I turned around, I saw another man with a gun.

Only…

“Oh sh…”

This man didn’t just have a Kalashnikov.

He had a rocket launcher.

He fired the rocket at me. I tried to gain my footing and push back against it, but it was already close to me.

I gritted my teeth together. Held it in midair.

Then the guy fired two more rockets.

My grip on that first rocket slipped.

I focused on it again. But focusing on more than one wasn’t easy.

Besides, I could hear more footsteps approaching behind. I could still hear wounded people screaming. I was stuck. Totally cornered.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

“You should just give up while you have the chance.”

I went invisible.

Then I hovered up into the air, still holding on to those rockets.

The terrorists looked around, bemused and frightened.

I lowered myself down behind the back of the one with the rocket launcher. I grabbed a piece of fallen wire, turned that invisible too, and wrapped it around his ankle as delicately as I could.

Then I wrapped the next end of the wire around the first of the rockets, still hovering in midair.

“Where the hell’d he go?” one of the other gunmen shouted, running toward their friend. They stopped when they saw the rockets. “Shit. Are they—”

“Still explosive?” I said, clicking my fingers and deactivating my invisibility as I hovered above them. “Absolutely.”

I let my grip of the rockets loose.

The man went flying along with them, attached by the wire.

The rockets slammed into the other gunmen.

All of them disappeared in the explosion.

I smiled at what I’d done. Then I heard my phone ringing, and I knew I was in trouble.

“Kyle?” Cassie said. “Don’t tell me you’re where I think you are.”

“I couldn’t just leave these people to die, sis.”

“I know that’s not why you’re really there. It’s because of her, isn’t it?”

“So you saw her too?”

“Come back here. We’re given our orders by the government now.”

“And I’m sure the Kenyan people would appreciate me being here right now.”

“You’ve no idea what you’re doing. What kind of shit you’re opening up.”

I saw her, then. Saw her running along the bottom floor. She disappeared through a door, and I heard her footsteps descending some steps from right up here. The rogue ULTRA. “Hold that thought.”

I canceled the call and teleported myself down to that door.

I stepped behind it, being careful not to walk into any kind of traps. When I saw it was all clear, I descended the stairs, the lights flickering above me. I kept on going. There was no sign of the ULTRA. None at all.

I started to worry this was some kind of trap when I saw her standing alone in a room opposite me.

She had dark hair, and she was dressed in a torn black shirt and a black skirt. She had nice legs; I had to admit that. She was wearing high heels.

“Don’t think we’ve met before,” I said.

The girl, about eighteen, smiled. “Annabelle. But you can just call me Chaos.”

“And what’s a girl like you doing attacking the innocent people of this mall?”

Her smile widened some more. “I was hoping I’d get to meet you. I was right.”

I felt uneasy about the way Chaos said that. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

She looked up at the roof above her. “What is it worth, to you, to stop me from leaving this place and killing more people?”

I tightened my fists. “Everything.”

She looked back down at me and the smile dropped from her face. “Good.”

She shot up into the roof and vanished.

I looked up. I couldn’t let her just get away.

I flew into the roof, right where she’d disappeared to.

I didn’t get far.

An explosion blasted through the building.

It ruptured the mall into tiny pieces.

It sent me flying out of the shopping center, too weak to even cushion my fall.

4

I
woke
to the taste of blood.

Sunlight burned against my closed eyes. I didn’t want to open them for fear of what I might see. The back of my head ached, and my body felt broken. I knew I could heal myself, eventually, but right now I didn’t feel strong enough to do anything, or fix anything at all.

I could hear muffled sirens somewhere in the distance, and behind my blood-blocked nose, I could smell smoke. In my gut, a sickening guilt, as the memory of how events unfolded replayed around my mind.

I had flown up toward the roof of the mall, following the ULTRA called Chaos.

But right after I’d flown up there, something had happened. There was an explosion. An explosion that threw me right out of the mall and onto the gravel by the side of it.

I didn’t want to open my eyes. I didn’t want to see what I’d done.

But I had to.

I opened my eyes and immediately my stomach dropped.

In the distance, through the bright light of the beaming sun, I saw the mall. Or at least, I saw what was left of it. Smoke plumed up into the sky. The flashing lights of emergency services surrounded it, as fire services attempted to hose the flames into oblivion. Around the mall, I could see people standing, some of them on stretchers. They looked devastated. Shell shocked.

But they were alive. That was something.

What was bothering me were the people still in there. The ones who hadn’t got away.

I had to go back in there and I had to help them. I couldn’t just leave them to die.

I tried to teleport myself back inside the mall but I fell to my knees. Pain covered my body. My back ached. My stomach felt like knives were sticking into it. I looked down and saw I was covered in blood. My arms were broken. That explosion had booted me out of the mall and I’d hit the ground with the slightest of shields, but it wasn’t enough to protect me completely.

I took deep breaths in through my nose and out through my mouth, but even that wasn’t easy. Sharp pains shot through the right side of my body. I wondered if I’d cracked a rib, pierced a lung. Ugh. Just the thought of it made me feel sick.

There was one thing I absolutely needed to do though. That was go back into that mall and help whoever was still inside there.

And to do that, I needed to be strong. I needed my powers.

Screw the fact that I hadn’t been ordered to go on this mission by the government in the first place.

This was
my
mission.

I closed my eyes and focused my attention on the tips of my toes. I felt the pain there, and I started to pour in my anger and my energy. I felt it creeping up my body, fixing me, piece by piece. It wasn’t easy. My breathing got more difficult. The pain intensified with every inch of myself I tried to fix. But fixing myself was what I had to do. I couldn’t just roll over and give up.

I tasted more blood in my mouth when I reached my ribs. I felt that sharp pain intensifying as I focused even more on fixing myself. I had to fight through it. I had to battle through.

I felt my throat closing up and my muscles tightening as I focused on the rib, which I knew now was snapped.

I squeezed my eyes shut tighter.

Held my breath.

Then I shifted it back into place.

I fell to my knees. The pain of putting the bone back into place had taken it out of me completely. But now I was in pain, I quickly moved on to my arms, then healed the scratches and cuts on my head.

When I’d done, crouching there, gasping, I looked up at the mall.

I knew what I had to do.

I teleported my way back inside the mall.

It hurt. And right away, when I got inside, I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of flames. The smoke was suffocating and turned me into a coughing mess within seconds. I created a shield around myself so I wouldn’t be affected by the smoke, but visibility was still difficult.

I looked around for movement. There had to be some survivors in here. There had to be someone.

But the further I got through the mall, past the abandoned shops, through the food court, I didn’t see any movement at all, and the fear in my gut intensified.

I got to the middle of the court and looked up when a bad feeling surrounded me.

I looked at that music store I’d stood in not long ago. I’d helped the woman called Rose and her grandchildren out through the fire escape. The explosion couldn’t have been long after that. I just had to hope they’d made it out in time.

I flew up to that top floor, then walked towards the music store. All of the CDs and vinyl had toppled over, covering the floor. There were flames right by the fire door. The explosion must’ve hit this place too. I had to hope they were okay.

I walked through that door, keeping my shield activated. I looked down the steps, my heart thumping. I couldn’t see anyone there. That had to be a good sign, right?

Then just as I turned away, I noticed movement.

I looked further down the steps and focused on where I’d seen the movement.

There were three people. An older woman. A boy. A girl.

I knew right away that they were Rose and her grandchildren.

I appeared beside them and put my arms around the children. “Hey. Let’s get you…”

The children were crying.

Rose was completely still.

A wave of grief covered me. I’d told Rose to leave via the fire escape. I hadn’t got her out of here myself. I’d gone chasing after an ULTRA instead of focusing on saving people. Rose had died because of me.

I choked back the tears and put my arms around all of them. “It’s okay. Let’s get you out of here.”

“Grandma,” the boy cried. “Granada, wake up. Please, Grandma, wake up.”

I swallowed a lump in my throat. Then I teleported Rose’s body and her grandchildren outside. I dropped them in the grass, where it was safe.

I heard booing. Heard shouting.

I wasn’t sure what the noises were. Not right away. It just didn’t register because it wasn’t something I was used to.

But when I looked up at the crowd surrounding the mall, I realized what was happening.

People looking angry. They were pointing at me, cursing at me.

They were angry at me.

I stood in front of the burning mall—the mall I’d come to protect—and I listened to the shouts of the crowd.

I wasn’t the hero in their eyes.

I wasn’t Glacies, who’d saved the world from Saint.

I was the enemy.

5

I
f there was
one place I really didn’t like being, it was in the White House.

Because a visit to the White House meant one thing: I was in deep shit.

The first time I’d been called to the White House soon after defeating Saint, I’d been in nerdy heaven. I couldn’t believe that I was finally being allowed into this place. Well, not just
allowed,
but I was a part of this place. The Resistance had been hired by the government to protect world peace. The idea was American, originally, but it had spread way beyond that and become a global union. I’d visited the United Nations, NATO. You name it, I’d been there. But there was still something ultimately magical about the White House. Something so unmatched.

The late afternoon sun shone in through the tall bay window at the back of the room I was in. It was nice outside, and I’d much rather be out there enjoying summer than in here. Not because I wasn’t in awe. There were relics of history all around me—handwritten letters from Lincoln, original paintings of Kennedy. I was surrounded in a place of such history, but also such treachery.

I’d just rather be outside because I knew I was in big trouble.

I might be privately tutored these days, with my Glacies responsibilities deemed more important than college. But that didn’t mean the sickening feeling only a detention brought was gone for good.

In fact, it was much scarier than ever when the stakes were higher.

Vice President Holloway walked back and forth opposite me. He was a short man, with graying hair, and a face that could flick from election-winning charm to total anger in the space of a second. The public didn’t often see that anger, and I figured that’s why he’d won so many elections. There were rumors that he was totally brutal on his staff, but he was a hard worker, so that was another reason he’d been in office so long.

He was also the man in charge of keeping ULTRAs like me in check.

The longer Holloway went without speaking, the more uneasy I grew. I scratched at my arms, cleared my throat. I’d been in trouble with Holloway a couple of times in the past, the second time in a lot more trouble, and he’d spent a lot longer musing. I figured the longer he took to muse, the more shit I was in.

He’d been musing forever.

Finally, he spun around and looked at me with those piercing blue eyes.

“Why?”

His question threw me, and filled my mouth with a bitter taste. “I—I—”

“You broke procedure.”

“I did what I thought was right.”

“You acted rash.”

“I had to act rash. There was a terrorist attack. I had to do something.”

“No. You don’t
have
to do anything. You do what you are told. What you are ordered.”

“People were dying, Vice President.”

“People die everywhere every day. One day, you’ll die too. Unless, I dunno. You have some kind of weird ULTRA-y elixir of life inside you.”

“I can dream.”

Holloway didn’t smile. He didn’t look amused, not even slightly. “You are young. You don’t understand politics. Public image is just as important as action itself. In fact, screw that. It’s more important.”

“Public image isn’t as important as saving lives.”

“You didn’t save lives.”

“I stopped a terror attack.”

“No,” Holloway said, growing visibly more agitated. He was right in my face now. “You caused an explosion.”

“It was an acc—”

“Don’t even say that word. Just watch this.”

He spun around and punched the power button on a remote. A large widescreen television came to life. News was rolling.

The footage was in the streets of Kenya. People were holding effigies of ULTRAs like me. They were beating them, burning them. Then the news flicked to more images of more protests like this. A tearful woman held up a placard.
“Who Polices the Police?”

“You’re the enemy in their eyes. You and all your kind.”

I shook my head. “If I hadn’t done anything, people would’ve been furious.”

“But they wouldn’t see you as actively involved in murder, Kyle.”

I shook my head. I didn’t want to accept Holloway’s words. It was a bitter pill to swallow.

“Look,” Holloway said, interlinking his fingers and walking back around the desk. “I won’t pretend I don’t understand. It must be difficult having all those powers of yours and not being able to act on them.”

“You’ve no idea,” I said.

“But I do. I have an idea, because I am the Vice President of the United States. I see war in the Middle East. I see conflict in South America. I want to go in there and sort it out. I want to, but I don’t, because I understand there’s an order to the world. An order that has to be respected.”

“It’s that order that’s got us into this mess in the first place.”

Holloway smirked and shook his head. “You’ve a lot to learn before you become a politician, Kyle. Don’t attempt to do my job for me.”

Holloway went quiet again and resumed staring out of his window. Great. More musing.

Eventually, he broke the silence. “It was the wrong thing to do, and the people blame you for it. Dress it up however you want. We’ve had this conversation before, and we won’t have it again. You’re on your final warning, Kyle.”

I knew what that final warning was. He was threatening to cut me from the Resistance because I was “too disruptive”. “And what the hell are you going to do about me? Arrest me? Give me a detention?”

Holloway glared at me. “I can do far worse things than arrest you.”

“Like?”

“Like turning you into even more of an enemy than you’re turning yourself into already.”

I mulled over Holloway’s words as he walked towards his office door and opened it.

I resisted the urge to continue arguing and made my way to the door.

He put a hand on my shoulder. “Take some goddamned responsibility and grow the hell up, Kyle. The people of the world depend on it.”

I took in a shaky breath, and then I forced a smile. “Goodbye, Vice President.”

I walked out of the office, and security escorted me away.

Outside the gates of the White House, I saw my sister, Cassie, standing there waiting for me, arms folded. She didn’t look impressed.

“You really screwed up this time, didn’t you?”

BOOK: Revenge of the ULTRAs (The Last Hero Book 4)
4.14Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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