1233 N Washington St.
New Hebron, California
Sapphira came awake with a start heart, hammering inside his chest as he cast his wide eyes about. He was inside Agent Van den Broeke’s car, but his memory of the night was murky. He shook his head and cleared his throat.
He recalled having a few drinks and getting drunk. He even had vague recollections of stumbling out of the restaurant with an irritated Amelia, but how he had gotten into the car was another matter. Cupping his face and messaging his temples Sapphira let out a long groan as memories of the sloppy kiss he’d stolen from the agent rose to the surface unbidden. His stomach seized up, not because he found her repulsive, but because he feared what that kiss might mean.
When he saw the time, displayed on the car stereo he bit his lip. He had never sobered up so fast in his life. He’d been drunk enough times to realize that much, but what if this was the work of his ‘increased healing factor’, as the technician had called it? Perhaps, his exemplar body had purged the effects of the alcohol from his system.
As his mind sharpened into focus, his vision took in more than just the interior of Amy’s little hybrid. A fire consumed a run down looking apartment building, a firetruck and other emergency vehicles surrounded it and blocked the street beyond. It didn’t take him long to spot the agent moving toward the emergency responders.
He heard screams. They didn’t seem to come from outside, but rather out of the open air. He bowed his head as a wave of pure unfiltered emotion washed over him. Terror. It was so palpable he was certain he could reach out and touch it, but it wasn’t coming from Amelia.
She was there too, but all he could sense from her was a general sense of wary doubt. He knew without being told where the wave of fear was emanating. The flames had trapped someone in the burning building. It was a child.
He reached out with his mind, and discerned that she was shivering in fear concealed under her bed. Her lungs burned as the smoke from the fire surrounded her and he sensed that the flames would soon consume her. The men and women fighting the fire without, but he feared they would be too late.
He opened the car door and was out and running toward the building with a speed he never would have been able to accomplish in his old body even in the prime of his life. He paid no mind to the rescue workers as he whizzed past them. Had he taken a moment to be looked down at himself, he would have noticed that his dress had vanished and he now wore the same accruements he’d worn when fighting Kwrump. He did, however, notice that his hair had changed color again, at it whipped around his face.
Bursting through the main entrance to the apartment building, the heat of the flames kissed his cheeks and the sting of smoke his eyes. He stopped and held his hand up to shield his face. He saw no clear path through the flames. Sapphira’s bit his lip, and he craned his neck his mind racing to find a solution. His flesh was just as vulnerable to flames as any other human. Though he might heal faster in his new body, it wouldn’t do him much good if burnt to a crisp.
He hunched over, one hand against a small portion of wall untouched by fire, and groaned as a high-pitched wail permeated the empty air around him. It was the child again, her terror had grown. His lungs burned. He coughed, overwhelmed by the child’s panic, ready to flee the building, but stopped himself. The pain faded and he looked around, realizing that it wasn’t his own lungs that were the source of the problem, but the child’s. It seemed, that it wasn’t just her fright or her cries for help that were being projected into his mind.
She wouldn’t last much longer.
Gritting his teeth, he held both hands out and furrowed his brows. He didn’t know if it was possible, but he was running out of options. As he stood there, deep in concentration, his awareness expand outward. The heat from the fire consumed damn-near everything, the wood, the paint, even the wiring and light fixture. The drywall was the only thing that seemed to resist, but it wasn’t immune.
He could have spent hours examining every little detail. There was a world of awareness he had never experienced before. He sensed every grain in the wood, every little kink in the wiring and every little flaw in the building’s construction, even those that would have been undetectable to normal human senses.
He reached out with his mind, focusing on the wall in his intended path and pushed the oxygen away from the burning flames. It worked. The fire died down in seconds. He threw his hand out blasting a hole through the already damaged wall with a single telekinetic wave and rushed through. Gritting his teeth, he groaned when his arms scraped against a jagged piece of drywall, but didn’t let that stop him.
When he made his way through, he found himself in a long hallway lined with doors, as he would expect of any apartment building, but it surprised him that the hallway was so intact. If the state of foyer had been any indication, he was certain the corridor would have been in a similar condition.
He didn’t reflect on it, but rather continued forward. He knew where he must go, he knew where the child had hidden herself and which direction he needed to go to reach her. About midway he looked up, noting that the flames were eating at the ceiling and surrounding walls. His expanded senses told him what he had already determined would happen, the ceiling above him was loosing structural stability. It would collapse any moment.
He picked up speed intent on getting to the girl, but before he made it another half a dozen feet, he sensed the ceiling give way above him. He picked up speed, but it was already too late. The whole thing came down with explosive force. He dove forward, but the attempt proved to be futile and he was buried under the rubble.