Wednesday, 23 July 2008

The Helix Assignment [Part 6]

The school was in an uproar.

Flames licked at what remained of the exam hall, burning down steadily. Firemen called for backup while others, including teachers and students, tried to douse the flames by throwing buckets of water.

There were no casualities, unless you count a Mod Maths teacher catching his hair on fire a casuality. He kept gesturing at his burnt hair, all the while yelling and pointing at a white-blond-haired boy who was standing aside, along with five other girls, one of which stood in front of the boy in a protective manner, her dark eyes flashing menacingly.

Perhaps it would be easier if I started at the very beginning....

It all started with doodling. Yes, you heard me right. Doodling.

Being the genius that he was, Hiroki finished the Add Maths paper in little under half an hour. Bored, he decided to fill his remaining one and a half hours' time by drawing cartoons, depicting a boy (not unlike himself) with pyrokinesis (again, not unlike himself) saving the world with a partner, the ever enigmatic, but manipulative to a certain extent, woman known only as LPK. (Who might that be? U noe, sound a bit like the TV advertisement. LTK eggs, with Omega 3 plus....)

The only difference was that the cartoon alter ego was able to talk.

Hiroki usually didn't mind not talking. It was nice, he reflected absently, to be able to look someone in the eye and stare at them until they got freaked out. But sometimes, his temper usually got the better of him, and he figured that if he was able to talk, he'd be able to voice out his miseries and not have to keep them all inside until he blew the bloody school up---


Mr Amh Arah stepped forward and slammed a rolled-up newspaper on Hiroki's desk, jerking everyone from their thoughts. Hiroki looked at Amh Arah, who was angrily jerking his newspaper baton at Hiroki's scrap paper, which was given to each student to do their calculations. The paper was filled with drawings of all kinds.

'Boy! This is an exam standard paper! You're not supposed to doodle on it!" Amh Arah thundered.

'Ya, ya,' K. Wang chirped in, diverting everyone's attention to her. 'Exam paper cannot conteng!' she said, reverting back to her native language in her excitement. 'This is called "tidak bertanggungjawab". You don't have a good sense of moral. You tidak menunaikan janji!'

Pissed off, Hiro glared at K. Wang, some trace of his fire power reflected in his menacing eyes. K. Wang gulped and turned back to her Cosmopolitan magazine.

'I said you cannot scribble on the paper!' Amh Arah said yet again, as Pierce came to Hiroki's rescue. 'Technically, sir, he wasn't scribbling,' she said soothingly, as she focused on her telempathic abilities. 'Besides, sir, it's scrap paper. We're allowed to use it for calculations, or even--' she shot Hiro a glance. 'Doodling.'

Thanks to Pierce, Amh Arah started calming down, but he just had to feign anger to have the last word. 'If I catch you again, I'll give you F straight away!' He stalked off, muttering, 'Idiot.'

And that's when Hiro cracked. With a snarl of undisguised anger, fire shot out from his fingertips, igniting Amh Arah's hair. Styled in an afro around his head, Amh Arah's crowning glory became an instant beacon of light. The fire surrounding him kinda of make him look like a demented angel, Joye thought as she grinned from her seat.


One could almost imagine how freaked out Amh Arah was. Well, technically, they didn't have to imagine. Nope, they could see it all over his face, which was turning as red as a tomato.

But Hiroki wasn't finished.

Another snarl, and fire shot out again, scorching the back of K. Wang's skirt as it became her turn to scream running around the exam hall. A third burst of fire burnt the tables, and the curtains went up in flames.

Yeah, well, that's how chaos happened.

'Shit!' Elsa cried as a burning beam broke from its place on the wall. Joye immediately dived under it, bracing herself to catch the weight of the beam on her shoulders as Aqua hastened to put the fire out with jets of water. Jen stood frozen to the floor in shock as the students found out their true identity.

'Oh my god!'

'They have powers!'

'What are they?'

Joye licked her lips. They felt dry and raw. 'What do we do now?' she asked, instinctively turning to Elsa, who was the unofficial leader. Elsa shook her head, looking at the way her classmates stared at her. 'I don't know.'

Aqua took a deep breath. 'Oh, hell.'

Pierce couldn't breath. Everything was just too much for her to handle. And Hiro was firing everything flammable....literally. She licked her lips. The air tasted dry and stale as Aqua pulled extra moisture in the air to douse the flames as Hiro started another fire. Elsa was flying everyone she could--who did not protest---to safety.

In the end she knew it was up to her to help Hiro. As he generated another fireball, she held her hand and force the fire power away with a stare. He glanced at her with a harsh look of questioning in his eyes, as if daring her to stop him. Oh, she dare.

Pierce's blue eyes flashed as she neared Hiro, immobilizing him by her telempathy. In his mind's eye, he was tied down by ropes, pinning his arms to his sides, not allowing him to move. She watched as Hiro succumbed under her power, trying to move his arms but was unsuccessful. Finally she was close enough to lay a hand on his face. This she did, staring deep into his eyes. She saw anger and fear, along with a hint of uncertainty, as though he was trapped in a nightmare he couldn't get out from.

'Time for a little serenity,' she said quietly, a psi bolt forming in the middle of her forehead and shooting into Hiro's. Within moments his expression cleared, and the harsh energy that had previously taken hold of him began to fade. He smiled uncertainly at her. 'Pierce?' he signed.

Pierce smiled back. 'Good boy,' she whispered, ruffling his hair.

'Nice to see the reunion,' Jen noted. 'But what do we do about that?' "That" referring to the destruction Hiro had caused. At least he'd had the dencency to look guilty.

Relaxed, knowing that Hiro was fine, Pierce couldn't resist a grin. 'Leave it to me.' Her eyes turned black slowly as she spoke. 'You might want to hold on to Elsa,' she said. 'With what I'm broadcasting, you don't want to miss it.'

She spoke just in the nick of time as Elsa hurriedly locked everyone in a telepathic link, simultaneously linking herself to Pierce who started telempathically touching the minds of everyone around her, searching for any memory of Hiro's display of powers, and wiping them clean.

Pierce continued this process until she touched Amh Arah's mind, planting a new memory inside his head, a memory of him throwing a lit cigarrette away, which dropped onto a curtain and immediately caught fire. So fast you'd think someone had doused it in lighter fuel, Hiro thought. Amh Arah was standing so close to the curtain that his head caught fire while the flames spread.

Moments later, the mind-erasing stopped. Aqua caught Pierce's amusement. 'Just in case someone comes checking,' she deducted correctly.
'Now it's done,' Jen asked shakily. 'Can we get the hell outta here?'

'Right on time, as usual,' Joye commented as several loud wails sounded. The firefighters and paramedics were coming. Hiro grinned. 'Maybe we should give them something to earn their keep?' he signed by way of suggestion, Pierce acting as translator. Elsa sighed. 'Only if you keep it small.'

Hiro gave her a grave salute, and allowed a small flame to touch the curtains, which burst into flames. As they left the premises, Elsa asked aloud, looking at Pierce, who had an idea of what the question was and had turned away. 'So, was that what you did to me last time?'

Several miles away, a TV set was broadcasting the news about an examination hall catching fire due to carelessness. Exams would be continued next week after repairs were made. The anchor continued by saying that seven students who were caught in the midst of the fire had suffered no injuries as the camera panned to the students.

Here, he paused the screen, and picked up his glass. It was full of daiquiri, and he took a sip, revelling in the taste of the alcohol as he looked at the picture of the students. Six girls and a guy, but his attention was directed to the auburn-haired girl, who was standing to one side, far enough to kept the attention away from her, but close enough to keep vigil on her friends.

With a smile, Edmund Sinclair raised his glass in a salute, and smiled. 'Clever girl.'

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