Who said Angels play nice.
By C R Gardner
Yana was invisible in the dappled light skittering over the massive roots of the old Moreton Bay Fig, watching her family and friends enjoying their picnic. She’d been invited of course, but she was fairly sure no-one actually wanted her to be there. She pressed her cheek against the bark and closed her eyes, listening to the sounds of nature and the low whine of their conversation.
‘Your sister’s not here, Wyan?’ said an unknown voice.
‘No, Calais,’ said Wyan.
‘That’s a pity, I was looking forward to meeting her. Must be great to see her again after so long.’
‘She’s his stepsister, Calais, and believe me, it’s good she’s not here,’ said Elise, bitchy tones decorating her nasally voice.
Yana smiled, Elise is still afraid of me then, and flattened herself against the tree as a bunch of shrieking children hurtled past, her nieces amongst them. None noticed her presence; none of them had been born freaks like her. A curse, not a gift, despite the government’s propaganda.
‘Scary,’ interrupted Elise, wrapping her arms around Wyan possessively.
‘I was going to say, a Prime.’
‘She’s been fighting in those unclean Eastern Wars. Who knows what she’s got!’
New ideas and strange views, possibly heretical, probably treasonous, thought Yana.
‘So you’re not happy she’s back. What happened?’
‘She did something,’ said Yana’s mother. ‘We don’t know what.’
‘They brought her back and dumped her in military prison. They’ve only just let her out,’ said Yana’s father, his voice weary.
‘Not before they threatened us though!’ said Elise, oozing indignation.
‘Who threatened you? Why?’
‘To get her to comply.’
‘Not that it worked.’
‘So she’s a rogue Prime?’
‘As far as they’re concerned.’
‘What do you think?’
No-one answered, but Yana was no longer paying attention, her focus elsewhere. Nature’s sounds had ceased. Alert she listened with every fibre of her body. She heard soft footfalls; smelled perspiration; tasted fear; saw wavering, shimmering figures wrapped in cloaking camouflage tech. One passed by so close she could have touched it.
‘Primes aren’t meant to be able to refuse direct orders, it’s what makes them safe,’ said Calais.
‘In theory you’re correct,’ drawled a handsome voice. ‘It’s all very hush, hush, but Katiyana has proven herself to be a treacherous exception. General MacCallistar at your service.’
Yana’s lip curled as he shimmered into view, bowing.
‘How long have you been standing there?’
‘Longer than you’d like.’
‘And you’re here because…’ said Calais.
‘I’ve come to see how Katiyana’s adjusting to the complexities of civilian life.’
‘Fine you say? And yet, she’s not here. In fact, weren’t you just discussing how dangerous she is? Even her own family is afraid of her.’
Yana emptied herself of all emotion, becoming as still as the air on a windless day, assessing the situation.
‘What lovely children you have,’ continued MacCallistar, a hideous corpse smile on his face. ‘Such a shame if anything happened to them,’ he said, as an armed soldier came into view herding the subdued and terrified children towards them.
Yana could smell tears mixed with snot and fear. She began to move.
‘What do you want with us?’ growled her father.
‘Katiyana. We want her to fight for us. If she won’t do so freely, then we will make her!’
No you won’t, she thought, moving silently and shadow-like through the trees ringing the clearing, dispatching the Elite soldiers hidden there as she went.
‘Threatening us didn’t work last time,’ said Wyan. ‘How’s this any different?’
MacCallistar smiled, ‘This time, we’re taking you to a secret facility. By the time Katiyana knows it will be too late.’ He nodded, and all around them soldiers uncloaked, each one carrying an M16. ‘Your captivity will guarantee Katiyana’s compliance. For despite appearances to the contrary, Katiyana would not let anything happen to her beloved family.’
‘It’s nice to see you taking such an avid interest in my family, General,’ she said, materialising between them, facing MacCallistar, her cat-like eyes glowing. ‘And you’re right. I’ll not let anything happen to them. Did you really believe I’d leave them unprotected again?’
MacCallistar smiled, ‘You already did,’ he said, signalling for the Elite soldiers in the trees to step forward.
‘Oh, I’m sorry General, but those soldiers won’t be responding any time soon,’ said Yana with a smile. ‘Would you like a further demonstration of my power?’
Angel wings burst from her back, spreading wide, glowing bright and silver. The ground shook, a jagged gash opening between her and the General. With a gesture, water fountained from it, streaming past Yana to form a shield around her family, absorbing the bullets that had begun rattling from the M16s. Unprotected Yana faced MacCallistar. The bullets stopped in mid-air, hanging there, like lights on a Christmas tree. She smiled. A vicious gust of wind ripped away the weapons, spinning them into a wall of flame that had sprung up around them, preventing the escape of the General and his men.
‘You people will not use me to take the lives of the innocent ever again. Just by moving my fingers I can tear your heart from your chest or maybe explode your brain in your skull.’ Yana smiled, and her fingers twitched. ‘Any preferences General?’