They told me they had the Moon Spirit worshipers' sacred promise that they would help fight. It was time to leave Iris. We all said goodbye. We went in the elevator and I was sure to be on the right side. I prepared myself to be thrown to the left. Unfortunately, the thing didn't have such a sharp stop like when going to Water World. That's what I decided to name the place. I named it after the actual Water World because that place was awesome. I haven't been there, but I heard of it. It sounded cool, too. We got off. I was feeling pretty down that I didn't get to squish Pete since he was on the left side. We got out and went to the car. I drove to Genaurdi's and bought cupcakes and candles. I didn't need matches, because I had the power of fire! Aw, yeah! I drove to the airport and we drove on board and sat down. I took the cupcakes and candles with me. We took off. First thing I did was put nineteen candles in one cupcake and hand it to Val. I gave everyone else one candle and a cupcake.
"Well, Val. You are 19 today. I couldn't do anything special because we are on a plane, so I had to make up for it somehow."
"By killing a cupcake with candles," Val asked.
"Yes. Exactly." I lit everyone's candles with a movement focused on my lungs. As long as they burned I had to move my lungs. Which are always moving. We sang Happy Birthday and blew out our candles. We ate our cake.
"Thanks, Nicki." Val said. Lona got up to hug her. We all ended up hugging her.
"Welcome." I said. I talked to Pam for two hours, then went to sleep. It takes a day and sixteen hours to get to Salem, Oregon. I wanted to see how long I could sleep. It was 2,509.5 miles. Very long. I only slept for thirteen hours. I went to the bathroom, then I played cards with Val, Pete (ew), and Mick for three hours. I won almost every time we played Trash or Tongues (you just stick out your tongue. Nothing else.) I fell asleep for six hours. Much more reasonable than thirteen hours. I talked to Lona about fashions, which I don't really like, but I talked anyway, for two and a half hours. I went to the bathroom and sat back down to eat a cupcake. We all had one. I felt tired again, so I dozed off for five hours. I really slept on this trip, I thought after waking up. I asked them if it meant anything. They said it didn't. I trusted them. For two hours we talked about anything and everything, ranging from clothes to movies to shoes to sports. Lona and Pam were held responsible for bringing up clothes and shoes. Mick and Pete liked sports, which I got into when they talked about baseball. Val and I liked to talk about movies. Who was in them, what did you think of this part, did you like the music. That sort of thing. We finally landed and we got off the plane and into pouring rain. Val predicted this because one of her friends was from Washington State. She said that Washington and Oregon were really wet, so we put up the hood of the car before going out. I drove us to a hotel. They gave us a suite that had four bedrooms connecting to a living room which was connected to a kitchen, as well. There were bathrooms connecting to the bedrooms. It was already paid for.
Who did this for us? It might be our new guide. I would bet the car on it. We walked down to where the clerk pointed us to go. Then we went through a door and stepped out into the street. What room was this? I joked with myself. A dark figure across the street beckoned us to go over to him. It was definitely a guy. We walked over to him. He had blonde hair and blue eyes. He was four inches taller than me like Pete. He was cute. I could make a lot of people jealous with him, or, you know, just one person, in particular.
"Who are you?" I asked stepping forward and giving him my best smile. He smiled back.
"I'm Luke. Your new guide. Sorry about the hotel thing. I needed to get you guys, but I can't be seen in light."
"What do you mean in light?" I asked. Why wasn't anybody else talking to him. I looked over at Val. She looked like she was going to run.
"I'm a hellhound. Everyone would freak."
"Why don't you have a dog head?" I asked.
"You can see the real me, because you have the power of fire. They see me with a nasty dog head that talks." He said. I couldn't see the dog head. That's good or I would have run.
"Follow me." He walked away with us behind him. The others didn't look too happy about going with him, but they went. I checked on Pete. He was glaring at Luke. Good. We walked to a door on the side of a building. We walked in. The buildings name was the Belcrest Memorial Park. We stopped before going out another door.
"Okay. Like last time look for a guy named Blaze R. Burn." He walked out into a graveyard. It was really spooky. Shadows crept on every surface. Luke who was wearing black and looked like death himself. I searched with him while everyone spread out.
"Hey." I whispered.
"Hey. Nicki, right? I've heard much about you. All the hounds in Elm Street have been talking about you. They want to meet you. I'm lucky I had this job. Once we get to Elm Street will you get a Firey with me?" He said looking down at me.
"What is a Firey?"
"A hot drink on Elm Street."
"Okay, sure. What is Elm Street?" I asked him. He looked shocked.
"Elm Street is what we call our home over here. There are more fire power places. We named ours Elm Street."
"Oh." I said stupidly. Duh!
"Over here!" Lona yelled. We ran, dodged headstones, and tripped a few times before getting to Lona. I didn't realize Luke was holding my hand from my last face full of dirt. I quickly let go. Pete was still glaring at him and now me.
"Okay. Touch his last name and follow me." We did as told and followed. We stepped onto an escalator. We were going down. Even farther than the earth place we went to. We hopped off of that and looked around. Fire floor, fire buildings, fire fire. This is totally my place, I thought. I might come back to live here after the war is over. We walked to a house, up some stairs and into our new home. All our suitcases were waiting for us. We unpacked. I noticed that everything was on fire, but it felt cool. It didn't burn me when I touched it. I walked to the living room where everyone else was. I sat on the fire couch with Lona and Mick. Val, Pam, and Pete took chairs.
"Well, what do we need to do here?" Val asked.
"Something really different. You need to perform with your powers to the Creatures who live here. If they like it, they will join the battle. If they don't, then they will kill the men and keep the women." Luke said happily.
"Oh geez." I said. Another performance. Great. The duel was a performance for our strength, this was for our creativeness.
"It isn't that hard to please us down here. We barely get any visitors." He said looking at me. Pete twitched a little bit. Once he stops doing things like that, then I'll go back to him. I think.
"It sounds hard." Pam said.
"And it's for our lives. What if we mess up?" Lona asked.
"We die." Val answered.
"Oh, come on. It isn't that hard if we practice. If someone messes up, then we just cover it up with a fancy move. If we fail, then we fight to the death. We don't give up. We came all this way. We can't give up now. It's time to have a little fun with our powers." I said courageously. My voice didn't even match my emotions. I was so happy here!
"If you think we have a choice, I'm in." Pam said.
"Me too." Lona agreed.
"Always with you." Val said.
"Awesome." I said, "We should split up. Val and Pete to the library, Pam, Lona, and Mick to look around town." I was going to work my magic on Luke.
"Luke, I need to talk to you." I said seriously. Everyone left and Luke went to his room. His room had red fire and blue fire in it. Cool.
"What would you like to talk about, Nicki?" He said my name differently. Longingly, I think.
"I think you know." I said moving closer to him.
"I only know one thing." He stepped up to me.
"What's that?" I playfully kissed his nose.
"You are hot." He said.
"I know." I made fire dance on the fingers of my right hand. I made fire dance around my body. He did it, too. We kissed. I wonder what it looked like. Was I kissing a dog's head? Or did his head change into a normal one for this? I don't know and I don't care, I thought. We stopped. I was out of breath. The fire stopped because I wasn't using my lips. His fire died out.
"Whoa." He said holding his head.
"What?" I asked concerned.
"I've never felt so light headed. I usually don't get light headed. Well, it's been 130 years since the last time I was." He said like I knew he was old.
"130 YEARS?" I asked him shocked.
"Well, yeah." He said like I should know.
"Wow. That's old... Really old." I just kissed an old guy that looked young. Cool and I'll do it again. I did do it again.
"I don't care." I said.
"That's good. Most people run away." He was seriously hurt by what they did.
"But you know I can't be with you. After this I'm not going to see you again." I told him.
"Oh. We should end it here then."
"One more kiss?"
"Ok." He agreed. I made my mouth burn with fire focusing on my lips again. He did too. We kissed. The door banged open and Pete was standing in the doorway. We didn't break apart. I could only see Pete in the mirror. He looked mad. Good. He walked over to us and threw Luke off me.
"She's mine!" Pete said.
"I am no one's except for my self's! Ugh! I belong to myself." I said poking Pete in the chest. Feels like he was working out. But when?
"Don't burn your pants off. It was a goodbye kiss. A fiery one, at that." Luke said smiling at me.
"Well, then. Goodbye, Luke." I said putting out my hand. He took it.
"Goodbye, Nicki." We shook on it and I left with Pete on my heels. Pete followed me into my room. He slipped in before I closed the door.
"What was that?" He asked very calmly.
"He is 130 years old. I told him I liked that. But I also said I wouldn't ever see him again. He said we should end it before it began. One more kiss and you barge in. You happy I explained?" I asked just as calmly. A civilized conversation was good to have once in a while. He sat down.
"Why did we have to break up? Why didn't you let me save you from nothing?" He said quietly to himself.
"Well, I, for one, am used to being by myself. I don't need your help. Two: I can date whoever or whatever I want. Three: I was planning on coming back, but you kept making me mad. Like tonight, I might point out." I said. He looked me in the eye. His brown eyes were sad.
"I ruin everything. Everything." He said putting his head in his hands. I sat beside him on the side of my bed. I was closest to the pillows.
"Not everything, Hun." I said honestly. "You can make a lot of people happy. Like me, if you would do what I want." He turned to look at me. Then he pushed me down on the bed.
"Not everything?" He asked innocently. I started laughing. I fell for the oldest joke in the book.
"No. Not everything." I stopped laughing. I tried to hold it in, but I burst out. He had me pinned by my shoulders, so I couldn't roll on my side. My stomach started to cramp up. I stopped laughing slowly.
"Yeah. I'm good now." I said.
"Good." He kissed me fiercely. We rolled together on the bed. I broke off and stood up. I was mad at him! So mad.
"I hate you." I said.
"Good." He said sleepily. He fell asleep on my bed. Crud. I'll just go and bunk with someone else. Pam and Mick were together, so not there. I'm leaving Luke alone. Val and Lona are together. There are no other bedrooms. It just hit me. Darn it! I have to sleep with him. That's why he is there. I'm going to have to sleep with him... Or I could sleep on the couch. Cool! I grabbed some spare covers and I slept on the flaming couch. I didn't have dinner, but I wasn't hungry. I fell asleep thinking about Pete. He could break my heart at any moment. I already broke his, I think. Or he was pretending? I don't know when I fell asleep, but I dreamed about him. We were on the couch having a chat about how we will set up our wedding. Wedding? We weren't getting married.
"You can wear that dress you told me about." He was saying. Dress? I really hate dresses. The scene changed. I was walking down the aisle. I couldn't control my body. I stopped at the altar. The priest was talking. I could see Val and Lona and Pam and Mick sitting in the pews.
The priest said, "Peter, do you take Nicole to be your lawfully wedded wife?" Pete said I do.
"Nicole Prentue, do you take Peter to be your lawfully wedded husband?" I heard myself say I do. Oh no! I'm too young! I'm only 18. But then, I'm an adult. Crud.
"You may now kiss the bride." The priest said to Pete. He kissed me. I woke up. I was on a flame bed. No one was next to me. Pete probably switched with me. I liked how the bed looked in the dark. I wonder if I could change it to blue flames. I imagined blue flames on the bed and they did change. Totally awesome. What time is it, I thought. I looked around for a clock. I found one on the side table. 7:39 a.m. Not that bad. I got up and took a shower. I dressed in my usual, red t-shirt and tan khakis. I went to the kitchen and found Val there already drinking coffee.
"Hey." I said getting myself some.
"Hi." She said taking a sip of hers. She was sitting at the kitchen table. I sat opposite from her.
"I have something to tell you." I wanted to tell her about James.
"It's about James. Bon has been having fugues. James and Bon might go for a walk, and then he has one. Bon told me in a dream connection that James's power is fire. Lona said someone with the power of fire will betray us. To take over people, you need to be next to someone first, then the person can go anywhere without you. We think James is the traitor. He was controlling Bon when he called the government agent people. That's all I know." I said looking at my hands.
"It's alright, Nicki. I've known, too. I talked to Bon a few times. Before he showed in person to you, he showed up to me. He voiced his suspicions. I already know everything. At first, I denied it and tried to find an excuse, but there isn't any." She said sadly.
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner."
"Good, I guess. Tomorrow we have to, um, perform to the Creatures." I said.
"Yeah. I think I have a game plan for that." Good. She was back to normal.
"What is it?" I asked. I wanted to do something spectacular.
"Well, Pam is going to make a platform out of the ground under our feet to start. Lona will be in a tornado, so she will be floating ten feet in the air. I will be doing different things with water from a bottle I'll bring with me. You will be sending sparks into the air. Lona, then, will blow them towards me and Pam. I will wrap the fire up with water without extinguishing it. Pam will make a fiery earth ball and send it back to me. I will send my wrap to Lona. Lona will send it back to you and you will swallow it. The fiery earth ball will get wrapped in water and Lona will make it hover over the crowd. Then we explode it. Then we send balls of powers into the air to juggle them. My water will put out your fire and Pam's rock will absorb my water and Lona's wind will smooth out and dry the mud. And then, we descend from our platform by earth stairs." She said. That will take a ton of skill. And why do I have to swallow it? I asked her.
"Because," She said, "I don't know what else to do with it. It's made of your fire and a bit of water. Really, you're just swallowing water." Oh great. Once everyone was up, we practiced after eating breakfast which was a couple pieces of toast. The practice went well. I just needed to practice swallowing a bunch of water. Lona needed to practice getting high enough and staying there. Pam needed to practice her jerky movements. Val didn't need to practice anything, because she was good at all her stunts. We practiced all day. We would only think of what we had to do.