Jake watched in wonder as thunderheads unfurled above them, tendrils of fog engulfing the warehouses rusting rafters. Aluminum walls rattled with wind and sleet bit at his face, yet he found it strangely beautiful, beautiful and terrifying. Yet he did not run, for his opponent was at the epicenter of the storm, in fact, he was the epicenter. Jake looked over to his mentor Diego, the Falcon, crouched and thinking beneath his characteristic black hat. “Are we following him?” He asked, looking equally for direction and reassurance. “I’m not sure how much more the building can take.”
His master looked at him, silver eyes deep, “No, I will go after him.” He said solemnly, and then in clarification, “You and Red Bird will go after Gremlin.” Only now did Jake remember his brother, Casper, dressed in a new suit of red and white, standing at his side and looking entirely to confident. Jake had been working with the Falcon for years, but this was Casper, or Red Bird’s first mission.
Jake scowled, “Gremlin’s just an animal, child’s play, but Cyclone… Falcon your injured, please…”
“Its only a scratch,” The older man said, smiling gently “Trust me.”
“He’s just afraid.” Casper snickered; Jake clenched his fist as Casper drew his bow and knocked an arrow. “I’m gonna shoot that little freak and mount his head on my wall.”
Falcon set his hand over the arrow, “We don’t kill for sport Red Bird.” Then he looked at both of them, “And Gremlin is not an animal, he may look like one but don’t be deceived.”
Suddenly a voice was heard through the fog, “Lost in the storm Birdies? Blown off path? I know your hiding… Come out, Come out wherever you are.”
Falcon knelt down and lowered his voice, “He’s guarding the North entrance, its a stairway leading to the labs. I’m going to lure him away, and as soon as I do I want you to make a break for it. Try to find Gremlin, I believe he may be holding a detonator, so be careful.” Both boys nodded, Falcon continued, “Whatever their after is probably in the labs, so they may have a man down there, he may be armed but I doubt he has any extraordinary powers. Still, Gremlin takes priority. Understood?” Again they nodded. “And Blue Jay” Falcon added, staring intently, silver eyes meeting blue. “Watch over your brother, stick together, at all costs, you understand? He’s your responsibility.”
Jake hesitated but after a moment nodded.
“Good luck then,” he turned to Casper. “And watch your arrows Red Bird” and without another word he disappeared into the fog.
Jake looked over at his brother, “Come on them, Run!” They moved quickly through the fog, barley able to see in front of them. Jake could here Cyclone’s demented laughter, feel the prickle of electricity in the air. But he dared not look back till they reached the north entrance. He looked over the fog, but though he could hear the battle, couldn’t see Falcon.
“Hurry up Jake!” Casper yelled, rushing down the staircase. “Last one down is Gremlin’s behind!”
Jake rolled his eyes, totally indignant. “It’s Blue Jay.”
“Yea whatever,” His brother said, from below “At least it’s not as bad as Red Bird.”
Jake followed his brother down the stairwell, finding it to empty into a well lit hallway, the white walls obviously much newer than the warehouse they’d come from.“What’s that supposed to mean?”
A reluctant shrug, “I mean I get the bird thing and all, but really Red Bird? At least you know what a Blue Jay is! Even if it’s a song bird.”
“Draw your bow,” Jake growled, but inwardly he was infuriated, though honestly he didn’t know why. “What would you call yourself then?” He said, holding his own bow staff out in front of him.
“Hmmm…. I don’t know, maybe the Red Tail? Like a red tailed hawk?”
“Stupid” Jake spat, why were they arguing about such unimportant things? He focused his eyes in front of him. Falcon needed him to focus; he wouldn’t be distracted by his irksome little brother.
“Well, maybe the Cardinal then? That’s a ‘Red Bird’ so to speak but at least it sounds tougher.” Then inspiration seemed to strike. “No I’ve got it! Call me… Redwing!”’
“Redwing!?” Jake chuckled, darkly. “Seriously? How is that at all better than Red Bird?”
Casper shrugged, “Your just jealous.” Then a sly smile, “But who wouldn’t be?”
“Shhh!” They had reached the end of the hallway, the labs door hung partially open an eerie green light coming from within. Jake looked at the watch on his arm, “No radioactivity.” He whispered. The two moved silently towards the lab, acrobat’s feet silent on white tile. Jake looked in first, a throwing blade clutched in his hand, but quick observation revealed the lab was empty. They walked in cautiously.