This story was originally in 3 parts, but it seems to have gotten bigger as I wrote it. Pt.4 is incoming, though, so stay tuned.
This time: escaping the trap.
Next time: Colutis tells his story.
The Foundling pt.3
by Lee Hulme
“Close the doors. Lock them! Block them! NOW!” Bonitas shouted.
A smartly-dressed woman with a name tag and a handful of customers hurried to do their best, tipping over shelves and piling them in front of the glass doors.
“He needs food. Anything. Please!”
Food was offered from every angle, and Bonitas grabbed whatever came into her hand, helping Colutis get it down.
Millie sat up looking dazed but uninjured and was quickly on her feet, playing Tetris with shelves and heavy items to help block the doors. With each pass, she looked down worriedly at Colutis, but kept working until Bonitas called her over.
Colutis was sat up. He was pasty white, and his cheeks looked sunken, but he smiled at her as he kept eating.
“He’s gonna be fine, but we need a way out.”
Millie shrugged, “Feed him up enough and he is our way out, isn’t he?”
“Not if it means leaving these people here to get hurt instead, no.”
Millie frowned, starting to look around the store, “Could maybe make something to…uh…” she trailed off, the gears already turning.
Bonitas left her to it and turned back to Colutis, “How you feeling?”
He nodded, hastily swallowing a mouthful of packaged sandwich before speaking. “Better. Much better.”
“Good to hear. I need to know – can you help us?”
Before he could respond, there was the sound of multiple large vehicles pulling into the lot. As the engines died, booted feet could be heard tramping. A few moments of relative quiet, and then a voice through a bullhorn.
“You all know who we’re looking for. All we want is what you took from us. Whoever brings us the winged one and his companions will leave unharmed, you have my word. Stay inside, and you will all die. You have one hour.”
There was silence in the supermarket as the words sank in. Bonitas said nothing, quietly preparing for those that would want to hand them all over.
“We could-” started one bystander.
“But we won’t!” another interjected with a fierce look. “Bonitas helps people, people like us. Who do you think they help?”
“Bonitas is gonna help us to an early fucking grave!”
And so the debate began, tensions rising on each side.
“Let them talk,” Colutis advised. “It keeps them busy. We need to get out of here in a way which keeps them safe. Ideas?”
Millie wandered past pushing a shopping trolley and Bonitas nodded her way, “She’s idea number one. Whatever we do it’ll be based around whatever she’s up to. What can you offer, Colutis, now you’re fueled up?”
“It’s a little violent, isn’t it?” Bonitas eyed Millie’s contraption warily.
“You were expecting puppies and love to be the solution?”
“Ok. No. But-”
“Dude! If they get hold of us we’re not dead, we’re locked up and experimented on forever. We escape without taking them down, who knows how many of these people they’ll hurt – that was your point, not mine!”
“It’s the only way,” Colutis agreed.
Bonitas sighed, “I know. I just really wish it wasn’t. Are we ready?” she turned to the crowd. “We will keep this as far from you as possible. We aren’t going to ask you to fight our battle-”
“Be damned to that!” interrupted one of them, accompanied by a host of agreements.
“-but if you really want to we would be glad of the help.” she finished with a smile. “Stay back if you can, don’t get hurt if you can avoid it, and please wait for this thing to go off before you move outside.” She nodded to the hastily-assembled weapon.
Bonitas’ comms device blipped twice. “TBackup is arriving. That’s our cue – be ready!” she called.
Colutis reached out and grabbed the barricade, flinging it aside. In one movement he had the doors open and the trolley holding Millie’s weapon was rattling madly as it shot out across the car park and towards the vehicles shielding a lot of men and women with a lot of guns.
“Down!” Bonitas shouted, taking cover herself.
As the trolley lost a wheel and careened sideways, teetering dangerously, Millie held up a universal remote and typed in a code.
With a noise that echoed in their ears, the trolley exploded, projecting shrapnel outwards to the sides at deadly speed, ripping through the vehicles and into the people on the other side. At the same time, sending more sharp pieces up into the air to rain down in a deadly cascade.
There was a moment of silence, and then the well-disciplined ranks broke. Some simply dived for cover, lucky to have been missed, or at least only scratched. Others, not so fortunate, hit the floor, bleeding and crying out for help.
Inside, Bonitas turned to Millie, who was watching the carnage, white-faced, with her mouth open. “You and I – we’ll talk later,” Bonitas promised as she bounced to her feet beside Colutis.
Millie swallowed and started to speak, but Bonitas shook her head firmly.
“Get these people out the back. We’ll deal with this. Move!”
Millie nodded and turned to the people who had chosen not to fight, ushering them ahead of her to the warehouse storage space.
Colutis looked out at the chaos, frowning, “They’ll be ready to kill us now.”
Bonitas nodded, “Hurt them as little as possible.”
Colutis nodded and stepped through the door, into the car park, stretching and spreading his wings as Bonitas stepped out beside him, and those that had chosen to fight followed suit.
“Our turn,” Bonitas shouted across the empty space. “We’re sorry we hurt you. Most of you are likely scared, following orders, no real idea what’s actually going on. We don’t want you to come to harm if it can be helped. It’s your superiors, the ones who know the truth but keep it from you – them, we want. But mostly all we want is to walk away, free, without anyone coming after us.”
There was silence for a few moments, then a voice came back over loudspeaker, “We want you, we want the freak you stole, and we want your geeky friend who put together that device. That is the deal. There is no other.”
Even as he finished speaking, however, Bonitas was shaking her head, “Make us fight you if you must. We aren’t giving up.”
“Very well,” came the simple reply, and from behind the vehicles came the sound of weapons being readied.
Before they could engage, however, a roar came from beyond the troops, drawing their attention as someone, or something, attacked.
“Perfectly timed – ze’s here!” Bonitas shouted to Colutis over the noise.
Colutis nodded uneasily, “But can you control it?”
Bonitas gave him a sidelong look, but left the question for now as she motioned her fighters forward.
Behind the lines, Viscura was in a battle rage. Everything ze could reach, ze ripped, tore, pummelled. Every eye ze could catch, ze locked onto and melted the brains behind them. Ze roared again as the troops began to back away.
Colutis stepped ahead of Bonitas and grabbed a vehicle in each hand, sending them careening off to the side. Seeing Viscura, he set a course for zir, disabling anyone standing in his way.
Behind him, Bonitas sent her fighters forwards into the melee, stepping the troops from using their guns. Staying a few paces behind, she sought out whoever was behind the attack. One of the troops thought her easy prey and approached, dropping his gun in favour of a hunting knife. With a look, Bonitas stopped him as he replayed to himself every moment of pain he had ever caused somebody else. He had enjoyed it, until now. Now he felt it, and it drove him to his knees.
Bonitas grabbed his face and turned it to hers, letting up on her mental hold, “Your boss. Now.”
He pointed towards a vehicle which looked to be trying to edge away from the melee, and Bonitas let him drop to the floor with a nod.
Over the fighting, there came an earth-shattering roar and she spun towards the sound.
Viscura was tearing into everything that moved. Ze was barely recognisable: not because of the blood that covered zir face, or the bared teeth; because the look on zir face was like nothing Bonitas had ever seen before.
She caught a glimpse of Colutis fighting through the crowd towards Viscura, then she was tackled to the ground, her head connecting with the concrete and filling her vision with shooting stars. Lashing out, she knocked a weight off her, only to find it replaced with another.
“Hello, pretty,” a voice snarled in her ear. “Fancy making friends?”
Bonitas whipped her fist around to connect with the assailants head. He fell off sideways, and she sat up, shaking her own head to clear it. The vehicle containing whoever was directing the troops had pulled away, and was turning to face the road. She looked at it for a moment, then back at the fight.
It was mostly over, now, but Viscura was still roaring and destroying anything ze saw. Even as the troops turned to run, Viscura blasted their minds with zir gaze, or pulled them back to tear them apart.
As she watched, Colutis got within reach and grasped zir shoulder.
Viscura didn’t even look to see who it was, ze simply grasped the hand, tore it away, and shoved, sending Colutis staggering back.
She started picking her way as fast as she could over the bodies, slipping in the blood as she saw what was about to happen next.
Colutis found his balance, took a few paces back and lowered his head.
Viscura looked up at the last moment to see the winged figure hit zir solidly in the chest, arms reaching around zir waist.
The tackle sent them both flying across the car park, before they hit the ground, cracking the concrete beneath the force.
Colutis fought to pin the crazed warrior down, even as Viscura roared in anger and fought to free zirself.
“Help me!” Colutis shouted as Viscura found a footing and propelled him into the air, to land a few feet away.
“Viscura!” Bonitas tried to reach zir over the storm of blood rage.
Viscura bolted to zir feet, gaze fixing on Bonitas.
She felt a vise begin to close around her brain and forced herself to focus, “I’m sorry,” she told zir as she reached back into Viscura’s mind, searching for the memories that would cripple zir.
They fought each other for a long moment, until Bonitas found the memories of the last blood rage ze had gone into, unleashing the pain ze had caused in zir escape from the laboratory.
In a moment, Viscura had released Bonitas and dropped to zir knees, the animal rage clearing from zir face as tears began to fall.
“I-I’m sorry…” Viscura whispered, even as Bonitas released the pain and knelt beside zir. “I’m a monster…”
Colutis stood and brought Viscura to zir feet, shaking his head, “No, Viscura. You’re human – just with some extra bits thrown in. And you’re the only family I’ve got.”
Millie appeared beside them, wrinkling her nose at the carnage, “Lovely. So what, we’re just gonna stand here all day?”
Bonitas nodded, “That’s the plan, unless you can trace that van.”
Millie smiled, “Way ahead of you. Idiot left his number plates on. Let’s go!”
The four of them stocked up on food for Colutis and piled inside one of the least damaged vehicles. Millie activated Bonitas’ comms device and quickly hacked into the tracker on the vehicle, then yawned, curled up and went to sleep.
Viscura sat in the back, trying to wipe off the blood that covered zir.
“So how did you wind up at the lab?” Bonitas asked as she drove.
Colutis munched thoughtfully, Time for a story?”
Bonitas nodded, “Always.”
Colutis finished eating and settled himself comfortably in his seat, sending his mind back to his very earliest memories.
“The first thing I remember is a hard hand hitting me, and a voice telling me I was a mutant…”