Annoyed, was how Erin was feeling, annoyed and alone. Her mother had been missing for a full week, along with apparently the parents of any and everyone else around her. Whatever was going on she hadn’t a clue but it was starting to get out of control around Detroit. Ha, okay so that was a little obvious, but Detroit in an even deeper state of chaos was a truly hellish place to be indeed. She gave her large gray wings a shake to clear away any creeping feelings of anxiety that threatened to overwhelm her. She’d never been without her mother, and even though she was practically grown, she realized she still needed her. She still didn’t know everything about herself, like who her father was and why he was kept such a secret all this time?
The only person she could think of to talk to was her best friend Lillian. The silver haired girl was always ready to listen and was quick (no pun intended) with a hug and the right words for the half-breed. Her green eyes lifted to the sky, she had already packed a few essentials and had a relatively good idea about where Lillian lived though she’d only ever been to her house when their mothers were visiting, and with a quick readjustment to her pack gave three powerful flaps of her spread wings and took to the sky, careful not to go too high and let the strong wind current to help her conserve energy for the long flight east.
She hadn’t been airborne long, the sky still bright at midday, when she heard a voice crying for help from below. It wasn’t too far from her though and it seemed out of place so high up. Curious she circled around and flew through the buildings again, a little lower this time to see if she could make out who was calling for help.
“Please…leave me alone. I don’t have anything.” The pleading voice, trembling with unconcealed terror, cried out again to his attacker. He was a young boy, perhaps a year or two younger than Erin, slender and clearly not a fighter in any way. His mop of dirt brown hair hung in his eyes and his clothes looked like they’d seen a washer maybe last week. Clearly this was a bad day for him as he faced off against two other boy, blatantly taller, broader, stronger, and meaner.
“Yeah, see, that’s the problem right there. We want something…and you ain’t got nothing to give us now. That makes me mad, you know what I mean?” The first boy, with slicked blonde hair and piercing blue eyes, spoke, glaring and flexing his fists as he advanced slowly. His partner in crime, like him only dark brown hair that was buzzed into a military fade, chuckled sinisterly as he too flanked around on the smaller boy. “Yeah so like, now you gotta pay us what you can… and if you can’t, then we beat you till you can. Simple enough, right?”
Erin frowned, her blue streaked hair whipping around her face with the wind current as she overheard the threats from the rooftop. Stupid punk bullies, always thinking that just because they were bigger and mean that they had the right to hurt others whenever they wanted. Memories of her childhood facing kids like the ones below surfaced easily and she reached for the one weapon she’d taken with her, it hung from the side of her pack on a heavy mountain climbing clip. Her mother’s mace. She wasn’t very good at wielding it yet, but those jerks below didn’t need to know that. Pulling her wings in high and tight behind her she dove for the rooftop and landed gracefully between the boy and his would-be assailants, her wings spreading out instantly to create a shield for the weaker kid.
“Couldn’t help but overhear you guys were wanting to get beat up? Happy to oblige.”Erin gave a smirk as she held the mace low in her right hand, the left hand raised in front of her, ready to defend.
“Whoa, who hell is this bird?” Blondie asked, giving a rude one-over of her looks.
“Don’t know, but I say we deep fry this chick Tony.” The other responded. His hands clenched into tight fists again as he took a menacing step forward, clearly undaunted by her winged appearance.
“Little girl probably don’t even know how to use that thing there Ray.” Tony pointed out the mace and gave a laugh at her.
Having heard enough Erin gripped the mace tightly and shifting her stance she faced Ray, her wings pulled in just enough to provide a shield for the boy behind her, who had gone silent and watched everything with wide brown eyes.
“Oh just shut up and bring it already.” She gave an annoyed roll of her head and then streaked forward, her mace swinging upward in a strong arc and her legs prepared to spin at Ray immediately following, whether the mace struck true or not. The mace clipped his shoulder as he tried to move out of the way but found his stomach suddenly kicked in and his breath instantly knocked out. He fell to the ground clutching his midsection and gasping for breath as his friend gave an angry battle cry and rushed forward to her, pulling a dagger-like knife and swiping at any part of her he could reach to cut.
Erin backed away from the knife, trying to catch an opening in his attack so she could knock the knife away and knock him down. She knew his buddy wouldn’t be down for too much longer and she really didn’t want to have the both of them attacking her at once. But the scuffling sounds behind her told her that her time was up on that wish and she’d have to be quick about this. Tony suddenly raised the knife high, feigning to one side and then quickly stepping to the other to catch her off guard and get a good hit in on her. Her caught her upper arm as she moved almost too slowly to deflect with the mace, shoving him down and away, her leg swinging out to give a sharp kick to his ribs as she hissed and looked down at her wound. It was bleeding quite a bit already which told her he’d cut her fairly deep. It was hurting just yet so she took advantage of the numbing adrenaline and spun around, her massive wings knocking down Ray, who had been trying to sneak up behind her, the moment he tripped and fell alongside his friend she turned to the young boy, who was crouched against the roof ledge, watching with amazing and terrified eyes. “Hey kid, come on!” She reached out to the boy and with a quick glance at his bullies he scurried to his feet and ran to her side. She reached her good arm around him and held her mace as tightly as she could with her bad arm. Then she turned to run to the ledge, the boy trying not to scream as she vaulted the both of them over it and gave about three strong flaps of her wings to catch a current and flew them to safety on the street below. Of course safe was only relative at this point.
“Th-thank you…” He started, fidgeting and trying hard not to stare at her wings, or her injury. He started to step away though, the feeling of safety starting to fade.
“You got somewhere to go?” Erin asked, the cut in her arm now starting to throb with a growing pain. He gave a nod and with a glance up at the rooftop they had just flown down from he turned to run back to his home, or at least she assumed that’s where he was going. If he was smart he would lock the door tight and only leave the house if he had a weapon or something. She gave a nod to him when he cast a brief look back at her, giving a small wave and a barely there smile of gratitude.
With a deep sigh Erin opened her pack, searching for something in the way of first aid to staunch the blood flow on her arm and keep it from getting infected so she could resume her flight to New York.
Finding that her mother’s constant lectures on first aid and what to always have handy and why actually had a practical purpose, Erin was glad she had packed the gauze, tape, and long bandages. With little trouble she quickly applied the pressure and kept it with the gauze as she firmly wrapped it with the long tan bandage. Satisfied it would hold, though it now ached badly, she refastened her pack and, with a glance around, took to the sky again.
She’d traveled several miles, quietly listening to the wind whistle in her ears and enjoying the near cloudless sky, except that meant the sun would be certain to tan her fair complexion now. Her green eyes, hidden behind dark shades, looked ahead and noticed something different flying in the distance. It glowed a strange greenish color, and she couldn’t for the life of her, figure out what in the world the ‘bird’ could be.
As the object grew closer, Erin could see it was a man, maybe a Green Lantern. A few seconds later it had gotten close enough for her to recognize.
“Erin!” said her glowing green friend Scott. He made a sweeping turn and began to fly in formation beside her “Thank goodness I found you. Are you okay?”
Slowing her speed down Erin stared at the boy who was now flying alongside her. She thought she recognized the voice but it didn’t sound like the Green Lantern she was familiar with. Clearly he knew her though, and knew that things were amiss around them. With a confused look she gave a hesitant nod. “Uh, yeah I’m fine… but, do I know you?”
“Sorry,” the Lantern said, and the mask melted away. “I forgot I went all superhero when the weirdness started happening. Plus not really being here doesn’t help, I’m sure. It’s me, Scotty. Or ay least a Starheart energy based construct being remote controlled by me.”
“Scott? But, when did you get a uniform and all that? What’s going on?” Her usually quiet self felt far more talkative when there were questions to be asked and answered.
“C’mon, Erin,” the energy avatar said with a glowing green smile. [tl”When you are living energy held together by a power ring, masks and shirts are easy. As to what’s happened…” [/tl]The smile faded.
“All any of us know is that the adult heroes, superpowered, firemen, police, EMTs, they’re all gone.”He sighed. “Several young heroes went up to the JLA satellite, the rest of us are manning the Brownstone. We could use your help.”
Trying to process the thought of this world now, or maybe it was just where they lived, without any heroes. That would explain why things were suddenly growing so chaotic. She took a deep breath and gave him a nod.“If you guys have a plan then I’m in. But, do we have any idea how this all happened?”
“We’re working on it. Right now we’re just putting out fires.” Energy Scott’s mask reappeared as he glanced back at Erin. “Figuratively and literally.”
“Alright. I’ll be there in a couple of hours at least. Where are you guys at right now? Brownstone?”She gave another flap of her wings to catch a higher wind current as he wings set in place to glide easily along with air at a speed of around 80 mph, give or take five.
The ring construct nodded. “For now. Velocity showed up with some shadowy magician boy.”The smile returned as the energy form rolled over on its back and locked its hands behind its head, easily keeping pace with the girl. “Lilly is horrible with secret identities. I think she knew him all of five minutes before she told him her real name, then shouted mine when I showed up.”
“Oh my, ” Erin’s eyes widened a little then she shook her head. “So, did he tell you guys his name too? Can he be trusted even?”
“Robert Troy,” pseudo-Scott said with a shrug. “He mentioned the Shadowlands and figured out that uncle Todd was related to me. I suppose he’s okay.”
The thought of the Shadowlands sent a shiver down Erin’s spine. Her mother had told her only a few stories about that place and those were enough to supply every nightmare since. “How does he know your uncle though?”
“Not a clue, but Todd’s been stuck there a few times, and his powers basically tie him to that dimension, so…”The Scotty construct paused, then in a voice not quite his own, with a tone and cadence that reminded Erin of her friend Lilly, he said “..got major alarms going off at the Federal Reserve Bank,” before abruptly vanishing.
“What the hell?” Erin stared at the place where the glowing figure had just been, slowing down enough to hover for only a moment before processing what she’d heard and decided to try and get there much more quickly now. If alarm were going off at the Federal Reserve Bank, and that’s where they’d be, then that’s where she was going. With a pushing flap of her wings she sped forward towards New York.