She heard the impact before her body ever registered the blow. The sound was deafening and she was sure her body had gone numb to shield her from the reality of several badly broken bones. And then she was flying, hurtling backwards through the air without control.
This wasn’t how it’s supposed to end… She thought to herself right before the inevitable impact of her unplanned flight.
It was in that moment her mind flashed back to beginning of that fateful night. Just a few hours stood between her and a world of change, many of said changes likely irreversible. Changes she might not get the opportunity to explore, judging from the impact she was about to suffer … Funny how the mind works in a crisis…
The night had begun like any other. Jordan Redfeather had stumbled through her front door at 7:15pm with her arms full of groceries and her work gear. She had dumped the boots and jacket right there on the foyer floor knowing the items had seen much worse treatment. As a lieutenant with the Denver Fire Department, her boots and jacket were designed to survive five alarm fires, surely leaving them on the floor for a few hours couldn’t hurt. Stepping over the heap, she stumbled into the kitchen and piled the grocery bags upon the counter.
“Taylor? Tay, come help with the groceries!” she yelled upstairs to the town-home’s other occupant. There was a commotion from the second floor before the teenager came barreling down the stairs.
At just 15, Taylor was all long limbs, blue eyes and flowing auburn hair. An avid runner, her skin had grown quite golden over the summer and had been eager to return back to school in the fall for basketball season. She entered the kitchen and draped herself over Jordan.
“Hey Mama Bear! How was work?”
“The usual, Baby Bear,” Jordan shrugged, disentangling herself from the tall teen before moving to un-bag the groceries. “Electrical fire, cat up a tree, accident on I-225... What did you do today?”
“Not a whole lot. Hung out with Marie at the park and did a few drills. Then I found this adoption chat room online...”
“Taylor...” Jordan stopped stocking the pantry and turned to face the girl. “I want to complete the adoption as badly as you do but it’s not something we can rush.”
“I know, I know... I just thought someone might know something we don’t about making it happen faster.”
“Look,” Jordan approached the girl and placed a small kiss on her forehead. “It doesn’t matter how long it takes to make it official, we’re a family, right? You and me against the world.”
“Right.” The girl agreed with a small smile.
“Chin up kiddo, it’s all going to work out you’ll see...” Jordan stepped back into the hall, realizing with a start she had left her phone in the jacket she had so unceremoniously dropped in the foyer. She winced as she passed the mirror in the hall; her appearance leaving much to be desired.
The normally put together young woman was showing obvious signs of a long day. Her long black hair was piled messily in a bun, barely any makeup visible on her caramel skin. The makeup that had managed to cling to her classic features throughout the day had done very little to camaflouge the bags beneath her green eyes, the pupils dull with exhaustion. She had been burning the midnight oil in more ways than one.
Reaching the left behind heap, Jordan dug around in the coat pocket searching for her phone. She began to search more frantically when she heard the unmistakable tone signaling a message from her team. Fingers finally closing around the object, she snatched it out to read the message.
“Think I found her! Come quick!” Her phone read; a cryptic message to be sure. An address followed and she hastened to respond.
“Thank God! On our way...”
She paused for a moment, reality sinking in with startling force. The ‘she’ referred to in the message was her little sister, Nona. Nona had always been the rebel of the family yet, she had turned a corner since becoming a mother. Though still a bit of a rebel, she named her three-year-old son Hendrix after all, Nona had grown into an amazing and responsible woman.
Then she disappeared.
The previous week the sisters had sat down for lunch, discussed the perils of single parenthood and dating, then went their separate ways. Two days later, Jordan got the call from Nona’s parents (the pair shared a mother, different fathers) saying she had failed to pick up Hendrix from daycare and was not answering her phone. That was three days ago; seventy-two hours of panic and distress over the frightful possibilities commonly associated with a disappearance. And now... now there was hope. Jordan rushed upstairs to grab a quick shower, yelling as she went.
“Tay! Wheels up in ten!”
“What?” Came the confused reply from the kitchen. “What’s up?”
“They found her!”
The apartment was dark, eerily uninhabited as Jordan crept through it looking for the person she valued above all others; her sister. She knew she was there, somewhere, she could feel her presence as surely as a breeze. Jordan had been searching for her sister for hours without success, drawing close several times but never catching up.
Now that she knew her sister was there, she needed answers. Nona had been missing for three days with no explanation, something she would never do to Jordan, her parents, or most importantly her son, Hendrix.
“Nona?” She whispered into the dark. “Please, I know you’re here. Whatever’s happened, we’ll figure this out… You have to trust me, but Hendrix needs-“
Her words were cut off by a punishing kick delivered to her side!
She slammed roughly into the bar counter on her left and felt several of her ribs give way as all the air was pushed from her lungs. Collapsing to the floor in a heap, she wheezed trying to regain her senses.
“Don’t talk about him! “
“Nona…please, I don’t want to hurt you…” Another swift kick to her side cut her off mid-sentence accompanied by an exasperated huff.
“Hurt me? Jordan, we both know that you could never beat me in a fair fight.” She felt a fist grasp a large clump of hair as her head was pulled back to peer into a face she knew all too well.
From the brutal treatment, she had expected her sister to look down on her with unrestrained hate. Her features twisted into something unrecognizable. Instead Jordan thought she saw tears in her eyes, which didn’t make any sense. Sparkling hazels orbs bore into Jordan’s emerald set. A pair of finely arched brows, one sporting several silver piercings framed those eyes as plump lips curled into a dissatisfied frown at having captured her prey. She released her sister’s hair and stood, pacing the floor in front of her.
Nona’s heavy boots were deafening in the silence and Jordan rolled painfully onto her back. She gazed up as Nona swept a hand across her face pushing the long golden curls streaked with a white-blond back in an all too familiar gesture; the shaved sides of her hair in stark contrast to the soft curls. A beautiful girl naturally Nona had always been a fan of self-modification. Her honey-colored skin was covered in various tattoos starting from her neck, down her forearm and many other areas that were covered by the black leather jacket and jeans she currently wore.
“So what do we do now? You shouldn’t have come! Do you know what he’ll make me do to you?!” Jordan stared at her dumbfounded, unsure of what to say in response to her sisters’ rant. Who was making her do this? And How? Jordan quickly ran out of time to muse. “You’re just going to let me beat you to death? Without even putting up a fight…”
Jordan heard the warning in Nona’s tone. She was going to attack again. Jordan pushed herself to the right seconds before Nona’s boot slammed down where her head had been! Another quick roll and she was on her feet. Eyes blazing with anger she circled her sister cautiously, hands raised in the offense. The two siblings circled, waiting tensely for the other to attack.
The contrast between the two figures was striking. Jordan, at twenty-nine was tall and lean while Nona, twenty-two, was smaller and compact with obvious strength hidden in her slight frame. Several inches taller than her sibling, Jordan seemed to have the clear advantage. Physical appearances were misleading as Nona charged her sister putting her fist through the top of the bar as Jordan expertly dodged the blow! The marble splintered as she ripped her fist free to mount another attack. As Jordan blocked another bone-crushing blow she felt the power surge through her palms, the flames snaking up Nona’s sleeves and momentarily blinding her!
The younger sibling was not the only one who possessed special talents. As a child on the reservation, Jordan had discovered she had the ability to control the element of fire. Once she moved to the city as an adult, Jordan adopted the moniker “Firebird” and began seeking out others with unique abilities. She had been both shocked and pleased when her sister turned out to be just such an individual. Now, however, as the pair stared each other down, Jordan had to wonder: were her powers a blessing? Or a curse?
“Get out of here!” Nona bellowed, pulling Jordan from her thoughts. “RUN! NOW!”
Jordan didn’t need to be told twice, she saw the pain in her sisters’ eyes and the intensity on her face as the tears streamed down. She knew that if she was going to survive the night she best make a hasty retreat. Without another word she turned and headed full speed for the balcony. The glass doors weren’t open but it didn’t matter. She could feel Nona just a breath away as she burst through the glass and out into the night, dangerous shards raining down around her. She hit a nearby roof with a thud but didn’t stop running and didn’t look back. She knew Nona was still watching her. Why wasn’t she following? Firebird had a feeling she didn’t want to know.
Back in the apartment Nona watched Jordan flee and willed herself to stay put before her body burst into a kaleidoscope of pain. Collapsing to the floor, she writhed in agony, her blood boiling and sweat pouring off her brow! She tried desperately to regain control but the poison in her body would not be denied. It felt as if she had gripped an electric wire she couldn’t release.
“I’m sorry… “ She croaked to no one in particular. “I wasn’t…s-s-strong enough…” A moan of disappointment barely escaped her lips before she passed out. A strange blue liquid trickled from her mouth and nose, pooling on the floor beneath her.