It was an absolutely beautiful day. The sun was reflecting off the windshields of the hover vehicles parked beside the boardwalk. It was quite nearly blinding, making those passing by shield their eyes from the strength of the cosmic light show. The asphalt was boiling, heated all day from the direct shine upon it. Those without sandals who had come during the morning light as the sun had created the horizon, much less extreme than it was now, hobbled and hopped across the lot to their cars. Those who could fly hovered over the heated cement. Those who could not looked on in envy.

 

Now we return to the story of Adam and his friends…

 

Ember was standing at the edge of the ocean. She moved forward as the waves washed out, and then ran back as the curl of the waves smashed. She covered her mouth with her hands, scuttling back and forth. The freckles on her face were shining just as brightly as the sun. After months of training with Adam, she had finally managed to keep her full body under control from spontaneously burning down everything she touched. Now was her final test. She had never been in water without her plastic suit, nonetheless the ocean. Certainly, she had never worn a bikini in the presence of so many people. She and Adam had gone shopping earlier in the day at one of the surf shops on the strip across the street from the beach. She had picked out a red suit that matched her hair. She finally sat down on the sand, well beyond the lapping of the waves.

 

“Adam, I can’t do it!” She yelled out. Adam was sitting just within earshot further up the beach. He got up from his seat, and walked over to Ember. He sat down next to her, and looked up at the cloudless sky.

 

“Why not?” He asked.

 

She rolled back and forth, her palms covering her eyes. “I’m scared.”

 

“Of what?” He asked.

 

Ember stopped rolling around, and peeped from behind her hands over at Adam. “I don’t want to lose control.”

 

“Lose control? If you ‘lose control’ just dunk yourself in the ocean. Water puts out fire, you know,” he said.

 

She leaned forward, and rubbed her eyes some more. “I know. I’m a big ba-” She was cut off by someone grabbing her from behind under her armpits. She felt herself being lifted in the air and moving toward the ocean. She screamed out and flailed against her assailant. She could not struggle away from his grip. They got to the edge of the ocean, and they stopped.

 

“Ready for a swim?”

 

“Patrick?!” Ember said, panicked, looking back over her shoulder.

 

They began to trudge into the water. Ember pulled her legs up as they neared the cresting waves. One smashed down in front of them, and the water spread up to their legs. Ember screamed out in anguish, and struggled some more. She pulled her legs up, and then managed to break free from his grip. She turned and grabbed onto him, keeping her butt from dangling too near the rising water. She screamed out his name once before he walked up to the hip-high water and just grinned before falling into the water. Ember’s scream was muffled as she hit the water. Patrick let her go, and they both rose to the surface. Ember’s curly hair had lost its fluff, and was dripping wet in long straight strands in her face. She moved them from her eyes, and glared at him. The water around her began bubbling, and, soon, smoking. She raised her hands, and flames burst forth. Patrick dunked his head, and swam over to Ember. He exploded from the ocean and grappled onto her, his weight pressed against her made her fall backwards into the sea. He let her go and laughed. She came up to the surface and coughed a few times, her glare never fading.

 

Adam laughed at their antics. He got to his feet, and brushed off some sand from his bathing suit and the little bit that had accumulated on his lower back. He looked around the beach for the spot where he had been sitting. He found it, and slowly made his way back. He took in the surroundings for a moment. All of these people gave him hope. They were all so happy. They loved each other and played together. The crowd was peaceful to him. He looked around in a circle and extended his arms in a twirl, the vortex of a soul’s exhale. He opened his eyes and saw it all. The ocean before him. The people behind him. It was about saving this. He might have been a father helping strap his toddler child into her seat. Maybe he was the woman who was loading her surfboard onto her car. He could have been the son, playing in the water with his father. He could have been that…

 

But he wasn’t, was he. No one here deserved what was coming. He would protect it all, or at least give it a hell of a try. He just needed to see, face to face, everything he had sworn to protect.

 

He smiled. He completed his twirl, and turned to walk back to where he had been sitting before. He grinned taking his seat back. “How are you-“

 

“How am I faring, you’re going to say? I am not faring well, Adam. Not at all,” Molly said, staring into her book. There was a large parasol planted in the depths of the sands, and it blocked out the sun for the most part. “It is hot, and sand is getting all over me. You have betrayed my trust, and I will not forgive you. Ever.” She was still not looking over at him.

 

Adam stared at her for a moment before he broke out laughing. Molly immediately turned to him with a furrowed brow. “Stop laughing.” Molly crawled to the edge of the shadow and stared straight at Adam. He just continued laughing to himself. “Stop it!” Molly yelled, splashing sand from her voice alone at Adam. He swiped at the sand and kicked some at her. Molly brought her arms up to shield herself. Then he heard it. The long awaited chuckle. He had heard it before, but it had become but a legend in recent times. She kicked up a little sand with her telekinesis, which splashed all over Adam’s lap. He grinned and tossed a handful of sand at Molly. It hit her. Her jaw dropped. She telekinetically rose a dozen foot wall of sand between them, and let it collapse all over him. She nodded in affirmation, and fell back to her seat and her book. Adam struggled to get out of his sand coffin, and breached the surface with a gasp for air.

 

“Wow,” he said. He pulled himself out of the sand, and crawled under her umbrella, his seat now covered in sand. “That’s what I love about you.” He stepped over to where she was sitting, and sat down next to her. He put his arm around her shoulder. She laid her head against his shoulder. His eyes widened. She didn’t do that. He looked down at her. “Are you okay, Molly?”

 

“No.”

 

“What’s wrong?

 

“I can hear them.”

 

“Who can you hear, the people?”

 

“Not them.”

 

“Then who?”

 

“The fish. I can hear all of them. They’re crying and screaming.” Molly looked up at Adam on the verge of tears, sniffling. “You poisoned your waters, and they swim in your pollution. They want to die. I can feel it!” She closed her eyes tight, but a few stray tears betrayed her. They sizzled against the sand. Adam leaned over and held onto her head. He rocked her back and forth. She cried into his shoulder, a soft whimper.

 

“I’m so sorry, Molly.” He kissed the top of her head. She stopped crying and looked up at him. She reached up and pulled him in for a kiss. They shared a moment of passion before Molly broke them apart. She was breathing heavily. She exhaled, and lines of electricity bounced on the sand around them. It quivered and quaked, creating bumps that flowed out in a circle around them.

 

“I know you are. You are the only one I want to say that. I don’t think the other’s get it,” Molly said, their foreheads pressed against each other. “I just needed a taste of happiness to bring me back to reality.”

 

Adam grinned. “How did I taste?”

 

“Like just what I needed”, Molly grinned.

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