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 Kill the Cutie [closed/solo]

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PostSubject: Kill the Cutie [closed/solo]   Tue Jul 28, 2015 11:02 pm

Her room was a 20th floor presidential suite overlooking New York City, with a king size bed, flat screen TV, and room service at her beck and call. The bathroom had been furnished with marble, with a tub big enough to be called a jacuzzi, and the walk-in closet alone was bigger than her room back home.

This was her prize, her bronze medal, for finishing third in the Summer Tournament. The chance to live like a queen for a week. She'd always dreamed about being rich, and when she'd gotten the opportunity, she'd went all out. Beata Academy would foot the bill no matter what she did. Her first day, she'd eaten so much that she'd thrown it all up in the bathtub. Her second, she'd stayed up until 7:30 in the morning, watching TV and jumping on the bed and rolling around on a silk canopy laced with gold thread, as hyper as a child. Her third, she'd stolen a bottle of champagne from an unattended cart in the hall, just because she could.

Kayla was strewn across the rumpled bed, staring up at the ceiling. Her prize had been two tickets. A free vacation to anywhere in the world, with any friend. But she didn't have any friends. That meant she got all this to herself. Twice the money, right? She grinned a tired, bitter grin.

This whole trip should've been a dream come true, but whenever she'd gotten a moment alone with her thoughts, she just felt sick to her stomach.

It all felt so superficial.

There was some stupid cartoon on TV about a kid and his annoying electric mouse. Preston, if he'd come here with her, would've bit her fingers off before he let her try and touch the remote to change the channel. But Preston wasn't here. Kayla was pretty sure he hated her.

She didn't have the heart to turn it off.

At 2:30 AM, there was a knock on the door.

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PostSubject: Re: Kill the Cutie [closed/solo]   Wed Jul 29, 2015 2:35 am

Kayla shot up from the bed, blinking the bleariness from her eyes. Footsteps scampered down the hall, receding away from the door. Whoever knocked had left in a hurry. She glanced at the clock again. 2:30 AM, sharp.

A prank? It wasn't room service, that was for fucking sure. But who would play ding-dong-ditch in a five star hotel? This place was full of ritzy old men and women. If there were any kids here, they were too well-bred to do something as juvenile as that. Kayla was a rare exception here, and she'd seen the weird looks she got everywhere in the hotel. Not just from staff, but from the other patrons and tenants. She was a stranger, a broke teenage girl in a place she didn't belong.

She flipped off the TV and crawled off the bed. That's when she froze in her tracks.

There was a black envelope laying on the carpet.

She could tell at a glance that it wasn't a love letter, or a prank. Kayla couldn't explain it, but some primal part of her was screaming 'danger!' Glancing around the room, she padded over and dropped to one knee to snatch it from the floor.

The flowing cursive on the front, writ in blood-red ink, made her heart freeze in her chest.


My name... She looked up from the paper, staring up at the door with wide eyes, before dropping her gaze again. This envelope... How do they know my name?

Katherine Croft. Her birth name. The name nobody called her, and the name nobody would ever know. At least, that's what she'd hoped. At Beata Academy, they'd even managed to sign her on officially as 'Kayla'. A shitty pet name she'd always hated, but...

She tore frantically at the paper to get at the contents, letting shreds of black paper fall to the floor. Inside were a stack of photographs. The first one made her take in a sharp breath.

It was her.

The picture was blurry and distorted, like it'd been taken from underwater, but she could recognize herself the instant she saw it. She was walking through Rosebury with a bag slung over her shoulder, her eyes locked on the ground in front of her. There's no way... Had someone at the school taken this? In town? It couldn't have been anyone else. But then... who had slipped it under her door?

She frantically shuffled through the rest of them, her heart pounding in her chest, a cold bead of sweat running down the nape of her neck as she did. Most of them were of her, similar to the first, but there were others too. Preston. Grace. Florence, the young girl she'd met in the training rooms. Even her father, in his work uniform, with a toolbox in his hand. She paused on one, a Japanese girl whose name she'd never learned, but her face had burned clear in her memory even now.

Kayla learned her name now. It was scratched onto the picture in red ink on the bottom corner.


The last one was just of a door. Apartment 206. This one wasn't like the others. It was close-up and clear. She flicked it over. Her hands were shaking.


Sparks crackled in Kayla's hand, and the pictures and the envelope went up in flames. She watched them burn, the fire reflected in her eyes, until there was nothing left but ash.

She stood to her feet, a band of electricity crackling over her head, and curled her hands into fists. The lights in the room all began to flicker.

Kayla Croft stepped into her shoes and flung the door open, running into the hall.

Come out and play.

Whoever left this envelope was still in this hotel.

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PostSubject: Re: Kill the Cutie [closed/solo]   Thu Jul 30, 2015 4:52 am

Kayla flung the door open with a crash loud enough to wake the whole hotel. She marched out, leaving a storm of electricity and flickering lamps in her wake. How far could they have gotten? If they had a power, then they could've teleported out, or... no, no, no. The footsteps had sounded normal. They couldn't have left the hotel by now, not unless they'd flown down twenty floors of stairs. Even if they were taking the elevator...

And the final taunting message still burned in her mind.

Come out and play.

They wanted her to come after them. If they could get close up enough to take a picture, they could've deposited her in a million different ways without her ever tracing it back to its owner.

Lightning crackled in her fist. If that's what they wanted, then she'd play.

Near the end of the hall, a boy in black stepped out from one of the hotel suites, closing the door gingerly behind him.

Well-dressed, in a black suit, with a handsome face and striking lilac eyes. His hair was a light gray, too dull to be blond.

A lazy grin split his face, and he slipped a hand out of his pocket, flicking his fingers. A spark of fire flared above his hand.

"Hey there, cutie," he greeted, the flames dancing at his fingertips. "Nice for you to c—... agh!"

Kayla stormed forward and slammed her foot into his gut, electricity coursing up her leg. The pyrokinetic went smashing through the door with enough force to knock it off its hinges. The next thing he knew, he was sprawled out on the floor. Her foot stomped down again, smashing him in the chest and knocking the wind straight out of him. He was left gasping on the carpet.

"Did you drop that letter off, you piece of shit?"

"Nngh... Y-you'll n-n—..." He hacked up a glob of blood, heaving for air. She stepped harder on his chest and he cried out in pain.

"I don't have time to talk to trash like you," she muttered, electricity crackling across her fingertips. "Answer me now or you die."

"Y-you wouldn't... AGGH!"

She bounced on his chest again. Did the poor baby fracture a rib or two? Miss Yukimura had taught her how that felt, and Kayla had killed her for it. Why would this smarmy little fuck be any different? Was he being serious right now? "Did you drop off the envelope?"

He shook his head violently back and forth. "Hrggh... NO!" he finally answered.

"Who? Who took the pictures, bastard?"

"Ack... I d-don't..."

She put her heel up against his throat. "Piss me off and I break your neck."

"GRUNTS!" he finally spat out. "No one important..." He coughed again, frothy blood trickling down from the corner of his mouth. "Kill me and twenty more wi—... ggurhghgh...!"

The stupid shitstain was gargling on his own blood now as Kayla pressed her foot down on his jugular. Honestly, so he was no one? Maybe he meant 'so it's pointless to kill me!', but it sounded a lot to her like 'it doesn't matter if I die.' It was an invitation, if nothing else. "Then who are you working for?"

He sputtered up more blood, taking in big gulps of air as Kayla lessened her grip on his neck. "Y-your playdate... downstairs... e-elevator..."

They were waiting for her, then. "Give me a name."

Now, even with his life on the line, he hesitated. His lilac eyes widened in terror. "Ar..." his voice was paper-thin, as soft as a whisper. "Argo..."

That was all she needed to know. "Thank you." Kayla kicked him across the chin. His head spun violently to the side, and the boy was immediately out cold. She turned around, whips of electricity lashing out behind her.

A cleaning lady and a rich old man in his pajamas were staring at her in uncomprehending terror.

Without a word, the man slipped back into his room, slamming and locking the door behind him. The chubby, wiry-haired Latina woman just stood there staring at her, frozen.

Kayla reached into her pockets and scattered a few coins in spare change on top of the lady's cart, sparks running down her hands. "Sorry about the mess. Put it on my tab."

She left her standing there and started down the stairs. Kayla heard the dull thud of the woman falling to the floor, fainted, but never bothered to look behind her.

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PostSubject: Re: Kill the Cutie [closed/solo]   Fri Jul 31, 2015 5:05 am

Playdate.

There was someone else waiting, not just this kid. More than likely, there were multiple someones. She flexed her fingers, electricity crackling down her arms. Kayla swooped down another hallway. A mousy looking woman in lingerie creaked open the door at the sound of her footsteps, a white 'do not disturb' sign swinging from the doorknob, but could only gasp at the sight of her electricity. She kept walking, not looking them in the eye, and Kayla could hear the door slam once the woman was behind her.

Innocent bystanders were a pain in the ass. It was better if they were scared of her. It was even better if they didn't remember her face after this was all done.

If things went right, Kayla would kill again tonight.

If things went wrong... well, there were lots of ways this could go wrong.

She grit her teeth and stopped in front of the elevator. With a crackle of electricity, the doors slid open.

There were two men in the platform already; a squat man in a white undershirt and a thin brown-haired man in a suit, leaning against the elevator wall. Fatty and Skinny, Shortie and Sasquatch. The first must have been in his late thirties, the other college-aged at most. After a moment of hesitation, she stepped in, channeling all her energy in keeping the electricity suppressed. It would be bad if she caused more of a commotion, and worse if she accidentally jammed it and stranded herself in here. She turned around as the doors slid shut. Cheesy elevator music filtered into the lift.

Kayla's eyes shifted behind her. Fatty had a black overcoat tucked under his arm.

"Hello, Kay," the stocky man greeted, as warm and casual as a family friend. A blade appeared in the thin man's hand.

Bastards. So she had a playdate in the elevator after all.

The garrote wire slipped around her throat and yanked her against the fat man's chest. A gasp escaped her as he cut off her breathing. Her fingers wrapped at the coils to try and pry them off her neck, but it wasn't any use.

"Don't take this personally," Skinny smiled. The knife jabbed forward, cat-quick. In that split second, Kayla's foot kicked forward.

The knife went spinning out of the man's hands. Another kick, into Skinny's gut, slammed him into the corner. Kayla's rammed her elbow into Fatty's ribs, once, twice, three times, her face turning red. Electricity flickered along her arm and she elbowed him again, stomping on his toes, and Fatty finally relented. The wire around her neck loosened and she slipped out, spinning around to send her left fist smashing into the man's chin. He reeled backwards, and she rattled him with a right hook across the temple. His hat went flying off his head.

Fatty slumped to the floor, grabbing at his head and fumbling at his case, and Skinny lunged forward, wrapping long fingers around her neck. He slammed her against the wall, face contorted in a growl. Her knee shot up, taking him between the legs. The tall man gasped, loosening his stranglehold for just a moment, and Kayla's head went crashing into his with a blinding white flash of pain.

Skinny stumbled backwards and Kayla stretched out her hand. The knife jittered on the floor before flying up into her palm. She wrapped her fingers around the hilt.

There weren't going to be any interrogations here. Kayla punched the knife into Skinny's heart. He gasped, grabbing feebly at her wrists, but she just twisted the blade.

He fell again, for the last time.

When Kayla turned around for Skinny's friend, he was holding a gun. It wavered unsteadily in his hands, his brown eyes unfocused.

For the first time that vacation, she smiled. "Do it. Pull the trigger. Just don't miss."

Sparks danced along her fingertips, and when the stocky man pulled the trigger, the gun exploded in his hands. Shrapnel exploded in all directions in that tiny steel cage, but the scraps of broken gun just stopped inches in front of her, levitating in the air.

Fatty was screaming in pain and covered in blood, his hand a red ruin, with crimson trickles running down his face, his chest, his arms.

Kayla stepped forward and held out her arm. "My turn."

When the elevator lurched to a stop, both of the men sent to kill her were dead. She rubbed her fingers over the red mark on her neck. There wasn't any time to think about what she'd done. Blood spread across the floor, seeping into the carpet and staining her shoes.

Annoying.

That stupid elevator music was still playing.

Ding!

The elevator doors slid open.

There were three men in black waiting for her on the other side. Two held guns, the other carried a vicious mace in a gloved hand.

She blew them away with a snap of her fingers. Their bodies went flying down the lobby stairs like ragdolls, and Kayla followed, stepping out from the elevator and letting the doors shutter to a close behind her. A suited man's broken form laid facedown on the stairs, his nice black clothes singed and burning from the lightning strike. He didn't make any movement as she passed him.

Only one of them had managed to survive. He was writhing in pain by a hotel couch, cradling his shotgun like a lover, howling like a fucking child. She stomped her foot on his gut to shut him up.

He lifted the shotgun to her face, but she just twitched her fingers, and the barrel twisted like a tootsie roll. She kicked it out of his hands and let it roll across the carpet.

"I heard someone wanted to play," she said. "Are you it?"

"N-no..." he managed to gasp. "Not all..."

"Good. That would've been boring." Her heart was racing in her chest. Just how many people had they sent to kill her? "Where's your master, dog?"

He didn't answer. She gave him a jolt of electricity through her shoe. "Answer me. You're not allowed to die yet. Where's Argona?"

The bastard laughed. He really laughed. "You think Argona would waste her time with you, you fucking rat?" His laughter turned into a raspy cough, and then to a groan of pain. "No, you get to play outside with her pet..."

Her hand clenched into a fist. "If she wanted me dead..."

"Then you would be fucking dead, brat. You and your family and everybody who ever fucking knew you. She'd mindrape them all in front of you and make you watch, you fucking—..."

She stretched out her arm, and the pistol the other man was holding flew into her hands. Kayla pulled the trigger and blew his face off before he could finish his sentence, flinching from the unexpected recoil.

Kayla let the gun slip from her hands and fall to the floor. Then what's all this about?

Her gaze lifted to the glass doors. Play outside... Who's the pet?

Come out and play.

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PostSubject: Re: Kill the Cutie [closed/solo]   Sat Aug 01, 2015 5:30 am

Electricity flared down her arm. There wasn't anything left to do but go outside and cut her vacation short. These six had been nobodies, bottom-level foot soldiers, the lowest scum the people in black could afford to send after her. If there was someone else they were working under, someone higher up on the food chain, then they would know more. Argona's pet... She wracked her brain to recollect everything she knew about the woman behind all of this, but nothing came to mind. That stingy fucker of a Headmaster was still keeping everything a secret.

Kayla Croft walked away. The automated glass doors slid away as she approached, and closed behind her with a quiet hiss.

The first thing that struck her was how quiet it all was.

New York was the city that never slept. It wasn't just a cliche, it was the truth. Every hour of the night, there were thousands of cars, thousands of pedestrians, thousands of clubs, thousands of lit up windows. But here, now, the street was empty. A crushed juice can went skittering across the asphalt like an urban tumbleweed. She drew in a deep breath and walked out into the street.

"Oh Miss Crooooooooft!" a girl called out in a high, sing-song voice. Kayla turned her head.

Argona's pet wore a black cloak over a blue sweater, with bright orange socks that came up to her thighs and a loose striped tie that looped around her neck. She giggled to herself, dragging her weapon behind her; an ugly shortsword that scraped along the concrete like nails on a chalkboard. When she stepped under a streetlight, Kayla could see her face. Gray-blue eyes, silver hair, a thousand-watt smile. Gloves. White gloves.

She stopped under the streetlight, bubbling with laughter. "Oh, yay-yay-yay!" she giggled. "You're all warmed up, good! That makes me really happy, heehee... I would've been really bored if they got you that easy!" The girl lifted her blade off the ground, skirt stirring in the wind. It flashed menacingly in the moonlight. "Oohhhhh, do you know how excited I am? I really, really, reaaaaaaaally love killing cuties like you." The girl swayed in place, eyes going wide as dinner plates, trembling with joy. "Cute girls are my favorite. I love making them pop, like, boooooooooom! Ahaha! It's really messy and always way better than when it's a guy or something, heh."

Kayla's face twisted in disgust. "Who the hell are you?" The girl was only fifteen or sixteen at most.

"You mean you haven't heard of me?" She pursed her lips in a pout and drove the tip of her sword into the ground to lean on the hilt. "Aww, that's really lame. My name's Jill. Jillian Snow! They want me to turn you into a puddle, heehee... Like, you're gonna be all super goopy. It'll be so cooooool! It'll be red and pink and purple all over, hee... How much do you think you'll splash?" Snow swung the sword over her shoulder, putting a hand on her hip. "Fatties are always the messiest, heh. They're my second favorite. But you're all scrawny and skinny and itty-bitty. Hmmm..." The girl put a finger to her chin. "Mayyybeee... twenty feet? Thirty feet? Heh, maybe if I get you in the right place, then—..."

A two-ton streetlamp wrenched itself from the concrete. The glass shattered, raining down a shower of sparks, and the steel pole went crashing towards Jillian Snow.

There was a sound like the pin to a grenade being pulled, a thin pip! just on the edge of hearing, and then it exploded in a cloud of dust, heat, and shrapnel. Shreds of steel taller than Kayla went hurtling over her shoulder faster than she could blink

When the dust settled, Snow was standing there unharmed, standing in a ring of soot. Her glove had fallen to the ground.

"Heyyy..." she whined. "That's really rude, I was talking..."

Another ripped out from the ground, leveled itself at the girl in the black cloak, and shot toward her like a rocket. Snow skipped nimbly to the side, brushing her hand against it.

Half the pole went spinning through the air, crashing through a line of parked cars like they were made through tin and careening into the wall of a neighboring building. The other half went the same as the first lamp, exploding into shrapnel. Windows blew out all around them, raining glass down on the sidewalk.

"Seriously! I've been soooooo bored waiting for you to come out!" Kayla snapped her fingers, loosing a spear of lightning at her like an arrow. Snow slashed at the bolt with her sword. Blue sparks danced along the metal before fizzling into nothing. "She would've just killed you by now, and she's not any fun! She never lets me pop anyone, or blow up anything, but she gets to eat everyone we see. It's just not fair! And she'll just tell me to shut up or she'll hurt me, and everyone just lets her do it! She's sooo mean sometimes!" Snow got caught up in her own tangent, stamping her feet like she was about to throw a tantrum. "And... like... yeah! I'm being nice right now, so you should feel lucky! She reeaallyy wanted to eat you, but Argona was like 'no!' It made me laugh when I saw her face after that, heeheehe..."

"Shut up."

"Huh?" Snow stopped, blinking. "Heyyy, that's not n—..."

"I told you to shut up."

"You're gonna get me kinda angry if you keep—..."

"Shut. The Fuck. Up!" A car lifted unsteadily from the ground, electricity coursing around it. The alarm rang through the street, and then it shot through the air, crashing into the ground in front of her. Black smoke billowed out from the fiery wreckage, still screaming a distorted alarm.

Another explosion rang out, and what remained of the car flew apart in a burst of dust, sending flaming parts bouncing and clattering over the street. Snow stepped over a charred and crooked axle, lifting her sword into the air. Red light from the flames shimmered down the steel. Her smile was gone.

There weren't any words left between them. Snow charged forward, her footsteps ringing out across the concrete. Kayla stood as still and unmovable as stone.

When there were two yards between them, Snow leaped into the air, spinning with a flashing backhand, with the grace of a ballerina and the loose recklessness of a berserker mixed all in one. Kayla stepped back, the steel missing her by less than a hair. Snow landed, still twirling, and brought her sword down in a slanted downward slash, slicing diagonally through the air. Kayla slipped past with a sidestep, and now within arms-reach, sent a punch flying toward Snow's face, lightning crackling in her fist.

Snow ducked backwards, shoes sliding across the concrete. Kayla faltered forward a step, off-balance, and the pommel of Snow's sword went smashing into her ribs. She let out a gasp of pain and stumbled away, electricity flaring around her.

She was fast. Faster than Kayla would've ever expected out of someone like that. Snow didn't waste a moment, flying forward with her swordpoint leveled at Kayla's face, and lunged out. The blade went grazing past her cheek, slicing over her shoulder. Within a second, Snow twirled around again on a dancer's feet, and this the sword pommel collided with her jaw. Kayla dropped sideways to the concrete with a muffled cry of pain. White stars danced in her vision as Snow's dark figure stepped in front of her.

Maybe out of spite, Snow swung her foot into Kayla's stomach. "Agh!" She could feel vomit rise up in her throat, but she swallowed it back down, gasping for air. The brunette's hand formed a loose fist on the ground, sparks fizzing near her fingers. A bright red scratch from ear to cheekbone had formed where the blade had skimmed her, and a dark stain was spreading over her shoulder.

"Ehhhhh, is that it?" Snow kicked out again. Black swirls separated from the dust and smoke to weave over the ground like snakes. "Man, I came a long way, and I've been like... super-duper bored! You really are no fun..."

Anger flared through her, and Kayla scrambled to her feet, butting her head into Snow's stomach to send her reeling back, arms flailing. Electricity flit down her fingers, and streams of black dust went spiraling through the air to form a dark blade in her fist. Magnetized iron in the sand.

Kayla held her sword out in front of her, gritting her teeth. Snow just giggled. "Ooh, ooh, a sword fight!" she bubbled. "It's been forever since I've done one of these! Heehee...!"

Snow plunged forward, her sword a whistling blur. Kayla swept the shortsword aside with a wild slash of her blade as it came swinging toward her. Jill was left open, just for a second, and Kayla leaped forward to knock Snow back with a kick. The silver-haired girl fell to the ground and rolled cleanly back onto her feet, deflected Kayla's downward slash with a wave of her sword, and danced backwards a couple more steps.

Kayla was on the offensive now. She charged forward, roaring like an animal, her blade of dust became a black storm that seemed to come from three directions at once. Snow blocked them all, her expression never changing, catching each slash and turning it aside. Every time their swords rang together, the girl in the black cloak retreated a step. Kayla slashed high, low, high again.

Their blades came together with a steel screech, Snow's notched shortsword burying itself deep into the shifting black sand. They stood together, swords crossed, silhouetted by flames.

Jillian Snow smiled. Kayla spat in her face.

She flinched back, gasping a breathless 'ewwww!', and Kayla hooked a leg around hers, sweeping her off her feet. Snow fell to the ground, straight on her ass, and Kayla thrust the sword down at her throat.

Snow rolled, getting to one knee, and caught Kayla's downward slash on her sword. Electricity flickered over Kayla's hand, and Snow's blade started to warp and bend, crushing in on itself like a tin can.

With a strength that Kayla couldn't have expected, Snow pushed herself to her feet, and smashed the flat of her ruined sword across Kayla's face. She went twisting from the impact, her own makeshift blade exploding into black dust, and collapsed to the ground, the street spinning dizzyingly around her. Snow threw the blade to the ground and walked over, peeling her other glove off from her fingers. "Heehee, this is fun! Really, really fun! I knew I could count on you! But the whole spit thing was really dirty, you know... like, ew, gross! And cheap... Like, that's no fun!" Jill wiped her face off with the back of her hand. A strange yellow light flickered down the base of her fingers. "But now..."

Kayla crawled to her knees, stumbling, and stood up with a groan. Her face was swelling up, turning red to purple, and she was seeing doubles as Snow approached, giggling.

She raised her hand, electricity flaring down her fingers.

The shredded remains of an exhaust pipe went flying up at Snow's temple.

Without so much as a glance, the silver-haired girl held out a hand, and the pipe detonated the moment it touched her skin, but that moment was all Kayla needed. She swung out, her fist connecting with Jillian Snow's pale white throat. The girl in the black cloak gasped, sputtering for air, and stumbled backwards, putting a hand over her neck. When Kayla brought her hand back, her knuckles were chafed and burning, as if she'd brushed them up against a hot stove.

There wasn't any time to think about it. She punched forward again, a quick jab that took the girl between the eyes. Snow lashed out wildly with her hand, but only managed to clasp thin air. A spurt of blood left her nose as she staggered backwards again, staring at Kayla with wide, unfocused eyes. Snow no longer looked like she was having fun.

Kayla was about to throw herself at the girl again when something beeped.

Beepbeepbeepbeep. Beepbeepbeepbeep. Beepbeepbeepbeep.

There was a black box on Jillian's wrist like a watch, flashing a tiny red light.

"Mm... looks like I gotta gooo..." she managed to rasp in a small, scratchy voice. She regained her smile, blood streaming down her neck. "Sorry, but... too-da-loo!"

She turned, her cloak billowing behind her, and took off to a nearby alley. "Hey!" Kayla barked, slashing her hand through the air. Electricity snapped at Snow's retreating form like a whip, but she leaped out of the way, bounding through the air like a gymnast, and disappeared into the darkness. She was about to give chase when she heard it.

The city. The distant roar of a thousand busy streets. The city was awake again.

Sirens.

Before she could move, three squad cars came screeching around the corner, lights flickering. Kayla turned around, and another four came to block her exit. She grit her teeth. Her head was spinning.

An officer threw open the door to the police car and stepped out, gun raised. Kayla stumbled back a step, her heart still racing in her chest.

"Hey, y—...!"

Before he could finish his sentence, before any of them could blink, before she could think, she did it.

She flew through the air, magnetized toward the police car. Her foot crashed into the hood in a storm of electricity, hard enough to dent, making the policemen jump away with stunned shouts. Pain shot up her leg, but she barely felt it. Kayla jumped onto the roof, the red and blue lights bursting as she stepped over them.

"What the fuck..."

Another voice shouted out over his.

"FREEZE!"

Two barbed electrodes shot into upper back like darts, piercing into her skin. The electricity only tickled. She leapt off the car  and the electrodes ripped out from her back in a hot flash of pain, severing from the taser cartridge. Another two darts took her in the arm, but with a flit of electricity, the conducting wires snapped in two.

Electricity coursed down her legs as she ran. She was already half out of breath, sprinting with her life on the line, running for anywhere but where she was at now.

Another policeman yelled something she couldn't hear over the roar of blood in her ears, and there was the crack of a gunshot.

She never figured out if he'd been trying to hit her or if he'd just fired a warning shot into the air. The sound was enough to make her panic. Kayla spun around, sparks racing down her arm to gather in a sphere at the tip of her nail, and snapped her fingers.

A beam of lightning fired like a cannon into the pavement near the middle squad car. All three were blown back in a storm of dust and debris. Kayla staggered as she turned back around, her footsteps ringing through the city, deaf to the shouts and screams of the policemen behind her.

She turned the corner and into an alley. More sirens echoed off the buildings, and she could hear the rumble of approaching engines. Back-up.

The alley ended in a dead-end ten foot high chain-link fence. She leapt, magnetism propelling her forward, landing with one foot on the rim of a grimy dumpster. Kayla sprung off, grabbed onto the top links of the fence, and pulled herself over to land in a cushion of old garbage bags.

The wanted girl crawled to her feet and ran until she collapsed from exhaustion.

At 3:00 AM sharp, Kayla Croft became a fugitive.

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