Dave barreled down the stairs. Lightblade’s footsteps pounded ahead of him, but the man himself was just out of view. Dave had to catch him soon, before he got outside and into a car and vanished like Death. There. He caught a glimpse of the man’s gaudy uniform on the next flight down. Dave pushed himself to go faster. He was younger, stronger. There was no reason he couldn’t catch him.
The stairwell vanished, replaced by something…well, Dave had never done drugs, but he imagined this was what an acid trip looked like. The sky above was a pulsing swirl of neon colors, and he stood in a hilly grove of twelve-foot tall mushrooms. Everything was hazy and swayed in a way that was going to make him nauseous.
He tripped, missing the next step because he couldn’t see it. When he finished falling and hit the wall hidden by the illusion, he found himself lying in a field of flowers with cartoon smiley faces in their centers. Dave focused on the feeling of the hard floor under his hand, even though it looked like he was lying on green grass.
“What do you think you’re doing?”
The Illusionist must have been walking down the stairs in real life, but it looked as if she walked down a rainbow. The girl got an A plus for creativity.
“He’s getting away!” Dave got unsteadily to his feet.
“Leave him alone. What’s wrong with you? Are you brainwashed or something?”
“He’s working with the yakuza, Yuna. We talked with Finch’s partner. That’s what Death was trying to hide.”
“No.” The sky went red, and the grass below withered and died. “You don’t know him. Mitch would never do that.”
Dave met her eyes, hoping he was actually looking at her and not another illusion. “Then why did he run?”
She blinked, and the illusion flickered and died. Dave didn’t waste another second. He ran down the rest of the stairs. Nobody was in the lobby—no surprise since the fire alarm had gone off—so he dashed out the front doors. Several people were standing around worriedly.
“Have you seen Lightblade?” Dave asked.
A man pointed to the black DSA car Dave had ridden to the cafe in. Its engine roared to life. The windows were tinted, so Dave couldn’t be sure who was driving, but no DSA agent should be leaving the scene. He made a split-second decision and charged.
The car accelerated towards the exit, but Dave tackled it like a linebacker on a football field. The impact bounced Dave back with a jolt and knocked the car sideways. It slammed into row of parked vehicles with the sound of crunching metal and shattering glass. The engine roared again, metal tearing with an awful screech as Lightblade tried to disengage from the wreck and keep going. Dave grabbed one of the spinning wheels and ripped it right off.
The car lay at an awkward angle now, and the engine went silent. It wasn’t going anywhere. Dave tossed the wheel aside, the tire leaving black marks on his palms. He looked at the driver’s side door and wondered if he should tear it open. Lightblade opened it and stepped out before he had the chance.
“It’s over,” Dave said.
“Work on your one-liners,” Lightblade advised. He clenched his hands, and white-hot blades seemingly made of pure light shot out of them. Dave widened his stance and lowered his center of gravity. His skin was unbreakable, supposedly. If those blades were metal, he wouldn’t be worried at all. But light/energy/whatever Lightblade’s powers were? No idea if that could hurt him or not.
Lightblade slashed, and Dave sidestepped. Dave threw a jab, and Lightblade dodged. They went back and forth a few more times, testing each other. This was good. The longer Dave kept Lightblade here fighting, the smaller his chance of escaping became.
“Who was your hand-to-hand instructor?” Lightblade grunted.
Dave eyed him warily. “Nielson.”
“She’d be disappointed in you.”
He shot forward. Dave stepped around him and threw a punch at his unguarded side—a soft one that hopefully wouldn’t break any ribs. But he never made contact. Lightblade yanked Dave’s extended arm forward and tripped him with a kick. Dave’s own momentum sent him crashing face-first into the asphalt. The flash of pain knocked the sense out of him for a second. (If his nose wasn’t broken before, it probably was now.) He rolled onto his back just in time to see a blade of light coming down at him.
Dave threw his arm up to block. It was pure instinct, happening before he could debate whether it was a good idea. The blade met it—
Dave could feel the heat where the blade was pushing against his forearm, a burning sensation that urged him to pull away. Burning, but not cutting. The glowing weapon could cut clean through metal walls, but apparently not Dave’s skin He looked at Lightblade, whose jaw was clenched tight, tendons in his neck straining.
“Ha,” Dave said, because he couldn’t help it.
Lightblade spat a curse. Then his blades vanished, and he ran.
Dave pushed himself up and sped after him. Dizzy, his first few steps wavered off course before he righted himself. A coppery taste alerted him that his nose was bleeding again. Dr. Ortiz would be overjoyed. But Dave could worry about that later—after he’d tackled Lightblade to the ground.
Lightblade sprinted across the park that bordered the newspaper building. Good. Open fields of grass, scattered trees, a lake—even if Lightblade pulled ahead of him, there was no place to hide. Dave pushed himself, the air feeling cool and crisp in his lungs even though it was hot out. Lightblade had the speed of a desperate man. Dave had to move faster.
A shadow fell over him, and Dave craned up his neck. A massive blob of pure blackness like a giant ink blot was overhead. Its edges wriggled and writhed like tentacles. Dave stumbled to a halt. It was getting bigger. No, it was getting closer. It descended in utter silence and enveloped him in a darkness so complete that he couldn’t see his own body. It should have felt cold or slimy against his skin, but it didn’t feel like anything at all.
What would you do with illusion powers? I’d probably use it to avoid cleaning/decorating my apartment when guests come over. I’d just focus and make everything look pretty. (I’m lazy.)
The next update will be Monday, November 21st.