Chapter 84: Racing

Mitchell’s legs gave out and he fell to his knees. For the first time since he’d gotten his powers, he felt like the world around him was moving faster than he was. There were noises outside; gunfire, explosions. But his eyes were stuck to the figure on the floor in front of him.

His sister wouldn’t wake up. It looked like he bare managed to shut their door behind her before she’s collapsed face down on the carpet.

He’d tried calling 911, but nobody answered. He’d run up and down the apartment building, looking for anyone who could help, but nobody would answer their door.

“Please-ease,” he whispered. “Please wake up-up.”

His eyes were glued to the slow, unchanging rise and fall of her shoulders.

The sound of an explosion slammed into him and he threw himself over his sister. He heard dishes shattering in the kitchen and gripped her limp form tighter.

Another explosion shook the building. And then another. They kept growing louder and closer, and louder and closer, until he was sure the next one would be landing right on top of him.

Finally, the shaking stopped.

Mitchell slowly flipped his sister onto her back and rose to his feet.

He stared into her closed eyes and his heart slowed to its normal rhythm. As the battle outside quieted again, his fists clenched and his face flushed.

He dragged his sister into her room and, with some effort, managed to get her onto her bed.

“I’ll be back,” he whispered. “I’ll save you. I promise.”

Red Racer ran out of the apartment and into the street.

Almost immediately, he froze.

The sound of gunfire bombarded him from every direction, and he had no idea where to start.

“How do I-?”

A scream pierce through the gunfire, and he stopped thinking.

All around him, the dust and debris pulled itself towards him. A burst of gravity sent it all flying away and launched him towards the scream.

He couldn’t really describe what Running was like. The way the world started moving so fast but stayed in perfect clarity, the way his muscles knew how to move without any thought or desire, the way space seemed to bend and twist to let him move even faster, all of it compressed itself into a single action and he moved, he Ran.

The scream had only been two blocks away. Some runners couldn’t even build up any real speed in that amount of space, but for Red Racer two blocks was less than three seconds.

When he was a halfway there, he could already see all five of the mercenaries, and he could see the woman in a blue dress surrounded by them. She had fallen on the edge of the sidewalk, and the mercenaries had formed a loose circle around her. One of them was shouting something that he couldn’t hear, but the woman was shaking her head.

When he was a few dozen feet way, one of the guns was already centered on him. Red Racer couldn’t outrun a bullet, not without a lot more room to build up speed, but he didn’t have to. By the time the mercenary had realized wheat she was aiming at, Red Racer slammed his shoulder into her chest. There was a brief moment where he could feel the air being forced out of her chest beneath him.

The other mercenaries were bringing their guns up away from the woman on the ground. Another of them was already dropping to the ground as Red Racer hit him in the knee.

And then they started firing.

Red Racer was already out of the way of the bullets.

He ran up the wall of the building and launched himself off of it, straight into the chest of another mercenary. They both fell to the ground, and Red Racer rolled back to his feet. He had slowed for less than a second.

His eyes flashed white and black and a red hot poker dragged itself across his right arm. A guttural scream tore itself from his throat. If he hadn’t been running, he would have fallen to the ground, but whatever force let him run, kept him running.

He’d been lucky, the shot that had hit him had gone wild, and it was the only one that even came close. He made a tight turn and moved back towards the last two mercenaries.

They started firing again, but he was already out of the way of the bullets.

One of the guns clicked empty and the mercenary cursed under her breath. She fumbled for a new magazine and Red Racer knocked her to the ground.

The last one began firing wildly, but Red Racer was already behind him. He slammed into his back and the last mercenary hit the ground.

None of the mercenaries was unconscious, but none of them was getting back up.

Red Racer slid to a stop next to the woman. At some point she had dived to the ground and covered her ears. Even after the gunfire had ceased, she remained in that position.

“I’ll get you out of here.”

She didn’t answer.

He reached down and grasped her shoulder. The weight she’d been resting on her elbows collapsed and she landed roughly on her side. There were dark spots growing on her dress and the smell of copper filled his nose.

Red Racer’s eyes grew wide and his breaths grew shallow.

He ran.

He didn’t run towards the gunshots, he ran towards the closest building.

The revolving door broke off its axle after he passed through. The bathroom door clattered to the floor behind him.

He barely got his helmet off of his face before the contents of his stomach filled the toilet. He tried to take a deep breath, but the smell of bile and acid filled his mouth and he puked again.

Finally, he curled up on the floor of the bathroom and he let himself cry.

Red Racer had been ahead of the bullets.

The woman in blue hadn’t.

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