Chapter 1 – Girl On Fire


"Dig through the ditches, and burn through the witches. And slam into the back of my Dragula!" The voice of Rob Zombie echoed through the small house on the outskirts of the city, originating from five speakers and a single subwoofer surrounding a desk, complete with a computer and a woman sitting in front of the screen, fingers firing away at the keys. A window was open with curtains drawn, allowing the cold air of the night to roll in, but the woman, who was wearing very light clothing, seemed to be completely unfazed by the low temperature. The only light in the room aside from the computer screen was from a bare, low watt bulb in the ceiling, shining a dim light over the nearly empty room.

"Come on, you piece of shit." She cursed aloud, banging her hands on the desk, the keys rattling in the keyboard, the screen flickering, the music not missing a note. The desk was centred in the middle of the room, and the only other items in the room were the power and Ethernet cords, which connected into their respective ports in the wall. The screen showed a black window with white text, most of it in coding.

"You really should get a better place." A voice whispered. The woman didn't turn around to see where the voice had come from, but she did reply,

"Yeah, but I like this place. Out of the city, out of the way. You know how it is with me."

"Not really. I tend to avoid your human concepts." The woman shook her head before slowly turning around, eyes scanning the dark. "Tell me, Pyro. Why do you find this place so attractive?"

"Because I do." She replied, getting to her feet and walking towards a bare wall opposite the window. Out of nowhere, something seemed to form itself, in the shape of person. It was like smoke was coming from nowhere and quickly becoming something else. Within a second, Reaper was standing in front of her, his flesh looking even more paler compared to her heavy tan. "Tell me, why do you find humans so unattractive?"

"Because I do." He answered, stepping past her. "We have a problem."

"I heard. You really know how to make a spectacle, my friend. Why was the military even in your old apartment, anyway? Didn't you tell Static that it was empty but explosives?"

"Must have slipped my mind."

"You're a prick. At least Phoenix knows boundaries."

"Like all humans, he too is bound by boundaries. Do you really think something like me would be halted by the deaths of a few members of a species that is reproducing quicker than ever? But enough of that. Have you managed to decrypt the files?"

"Not yet. Looks like someone at the Pentagon really knew you. They've got files dating to about three thousand years before that Jesus incident. I still can't believe that was you, man. But there is one file in particular that is being a real bastard. It doesn't need a password, it needs something else, and I can't find what it is." Pyro explained.

"Interesting. Looks like I really should have gone to Harvard and Oxford. But computers just seem to be a waste of time. Whatever happened to writing something important on paper, and then hiding it surrounded by elaborate, and hidden traps?"

"Something about now being easy to disable. Just so you know, I was browsing the Internet today and found something you might find...entertaining. As you know, ever since you're little 'upset' twenty years ago, your name finally went completely public and not just true speculation and rumours. I found an entire forum dedicated to you. I have found more than fifty 'complete' biographies of you. There are people out there who have spent their entire lives dedicated to creating you in their own way."

"How is that meant to be entertaining? It just confirms of how pathetic you all are."

"Hey! I'm not writing any of it, nor have I joined the forum. Besides, if it wasn't for me, you wouldn't have been able to pass the thermal scanning at the Pentagon."

"That was twenty years ago, and you helped me once. Why do you feel the need to bring it back up?"

"To prove that even you need help once in a while."

"Of course. So have you got anything useful for me at the moment?" Reaper asked, clearly bored.

"No, not really. It's going to take a while to crack this last file." Pyro answered. Before Reaper could reply, or leave, there was a quiet cracking sound. An instant later, another woman climbed out from under the desk, shortly followed by a man. "What took you guys so long?"

"Well, for one. We just had to go and stop at a store for snacks. The place was closed, but security lights were on, and under the shelves was the only place where there wasn't any light. By the way, Pyre? Get more stuff. Like a closet or something. Coming under this desk is getting old." The man explained. Pyro smiled. The other woman stepped around the desk and kissed Pyro.

"Hey, sweetums." She whispered.

"Hey, Shadow." She replied, grinning.

"Jesus, it's fuckin' cold. Do you ever have the window and curtains closed?"

"No...why would I?" Pyro shook her head, tapped a few keys and turned the computer off. The man also shook his head and pulled out a cigarette.

"You mind?" He asked, holding his arms out like he shouldn't have to ask.

"Fine..." Pyro clicked her fingers, fire engulfing the two. She held them out and a stream of fire flew through the air, lighting the cigarette. "Phoenix, that shit is going to kill you eventually. And we all know where you're going to go."

"To hell with that...no pun intended. Reaper would bail me out. Right, man?" Phoenix asked him, who had been silent the entire time.

"Only if I needed you." He answered. Shadow giggled, settling down in Pyro's lap.

"Men. You're so useless."

"Man." Phoenix corrected her. "This coming from a lesbian, what would you know?"

"Uh...I turned gay for a reason."

"Why, too many guys asking for a different access point? Turns you both queer?"

"FYI, I never went out with a guy." Pyro raised her hand.

"Did you two get the drive?" Reaper interrupted the conversation.

"Oh shit, yeah." Phoenix dove into his pockets, looking for the flash drive he and Shadow had been sent out to get it. He pulled out a small black piece of plastic and handed it over to Reaper. "Here you go. Took us a while to find it. Turns out the King has been in on this shit for a hell of a long time. Previous Queen too. Fuckin' English royalties and their secrets. We had to risk our asses, stay inside his office while we made a copy. Someone couldn't just teleport us back here as it transferred, keeping us safe."

"Because I checked the corridors, and there was no one in the Palace that was going to go near the office for a long time." Shadow explained, stroking Pyro's hair. Reaper looked at the flash drive for a moment, put it in his pocket and disappeared in a small cloud of black smoke, which quickly dissipated.

"Well...I guess that's one way of leaving without drawing any attention to this place, aside from your insanely loud music." She said.

"I turned it off!"

"Only because everyone was here. Even when it's just the two of us you have that music playing."

"Well I'm sorry I prefer my metal to your...well, I can't really call yours music. More like...pubescent boys playing instruments in high school."

"Oh come on. It's not like any band you listen to is going to make anything new. Pop rock is the only good genre to survive."

"I'll give you that, but good? No. Very not."

"I'll gladly sit here, watch you guys argue and see where it goes, but I've got plans for the night. Can I get a lift home?" Phoenix interrupted; a slightly confused look on his face. Shadow got off Pyro, kissed her again and grabbed Phoenix by the arm, dragging him under the desk.

"A closet would be pretty handy." She said before the two disappeared. Pyro sighed, looking around the room. She got up, walked to the window and closed it, the curtains flowing around from the hot air that radiated from her body. She closed the curtains and turning back saw Shadow crawling out from under the desk. No words were said as they left the room, turning the light off, and stepping into the net room. It looked like a standard room you'd expect from two women who lived together, only they shared one bed instead of two. Pyro waved her hand around and about twenty small candles flickered alight. Shadow got undressed, throwing her clothes in a pile next to a table, and got under the sheets of the bed. Pyro looked at the fireplace at the end of the room and it exploded with fire, heat quickly filling the room.

"You think after all this time Reaper would have adjusted to humanity." Shadow said, watching Pyro get undressed, fold her clothes and then put them on a chair beside the bed.

"Maybe that's what you get when you're the only one of your kind." She suggested. "I mean, we're both still human, just different. But him? He's...I don't even know where he's from. Or anything about him."

"Yeah, I guess. But enough of him, get that beautiful ass in bed for me." Shadow ordered, grinning. Pyro shook her head, getting under the sheets.

"Like I had anything else planned."