Ross Maver whizzed past as he maneuvered around the steps and up the ramp. Didn’t that man used to do something with the Arms? The dimming light was radiating from the hole in the wall, sprinkled with floating particulate and dust. Easier to take the front door.
That was his name, Casey. That man had fallen in the tremor and looked to be having trouble standing.
“My leg! My arms! MY ARMS!” he was whining.
There was a narrow path between the rubble on the floor and the other side of the hallway that he thought his wheels could fit through, but they got caught on a few pebbles. He began to push on the wheels, hoping to break the small barriers.
“Don’t even think about it!” he heard the caretaker growl.
There was a small jerk as his roller was forced backwards.
“I’ll kill you!” he heard, followed by another jerk as his chair propelled forward. He had to engage the locks after traversing the pebbles, and his roller skidded sideways into the wall. He cursed himself when he turned to see who did all of it. She stood by the rocks, obviously not withering and hardly useless. Caught up in the moment and compelled to return the favor he called out,
“Bamber, let’s go.”
Hands clutched together, she floated toward him in that limited gait. Beyond her, he could see the caretaker continue to threaten, but not at him. If his vision were any good, he thought he saw Maver looking down from his roller, clenching a static rod.
“I’ll KILL you!” the man on the floor reminded.
Squinting further, Albert realized. It must have fallen from the caretaker’s holster in the tremor.
He lifted the latches from his wheels and they exited to the sounds of wasted cries. Past the edge of the grounds it was smoky, and there wasn’t much to make out. Bamber lurched forward into a small patch of fog, and he thought she’d disappeared for a minute. He’d been in that place just long enough to forget there were people with her condition.
“Now come on out of there; there’s no time for any of that nonsense,” he instructed.
She came back behind his seat and started to push.
“Now hold on just a minute,” he said while flipping the latches back into place.
There were more screams coming from the cargo lot where the smoke had already invaded. They were obnoxiously loud, and a little familiar. Glancing across the yard, he could see why. His daughter-in-law was scrambling about and carrying on, looking up at something he himself could hardly see. It was a kind of leg, but metal. From the haze it protruded a little more and began to lift. She was still crying out in hysterics, but had stopped moving about. As the leg lifted higher the wind blew some of the smoke away, revealing its attachment to something bigger.
“What in the orb…?” he questioned as the leg paused in mid-air.
It came down fast, covering all of her body except for the head. When she continued to shriek, the foot of the thing pivoted to sever the connection, leaving a dark blue smear across the lot. As it turned and moved toward other human noises in the distance, he saw it had been standing atop his family’s cargo, and what looked to be the remains of his son leaked from the wreckage. Come to think of it, maybe it was his son-in-law.
He wondered if it was still possible, or if they’d kept him dormant for too long. The arms first to balance, then the hips, then the legs. Bamber looked on with her finger at her lips, maybe confused, but who knew at this point. Up he pushed, stabilizing with his roller, and shifting his stance. One last push away from the roller and he caught himself, though wobbly, with his hips. From this crouch he attempted to rise. Slowly, not like those two who hit the floor in roll call last week. They were too hasty about their abilities. Slight balance, a sticking point, and he was up on his own two legs. It felt wonderful.
“They’d never of let me do that,” he turned to inform her with a wink.
She stared without acknowledgement.
He sighed, looking over the blank of her face, “Well, let’s find it then.”
Inching away from the lot and into the smoke beyond the grounds, he marveled at the wonders of this day, of lame-brained heroes and metalloid monsters. In this moment, the only one he knew about, the vast possibility of life was at work; never again would he surrender its beauty for the promise of man.