Sneak Peak of THE SITY AFIRE (The Sity, #2)

Carina’s hands gripped tightly onto the steering wheel of her fighter aircraft. She could see the enemy helicopters slowly emerging up through the storm clouds in front of her.

The first thing she saw was the rapidly spinning rotor blade. And then the next thing was the thick black metal body of the helicopter. The mark of her enemy scrawled across the front top – Red Maple Leaf insignias.

It was Canada’s air reinforcements. There were actually three of them. And they had been expecting her.

Carina spun her steering wheel to the left and her plane frantically dodged the torrent of bullets from the enemy vehicles. Her aircraft dove downward and then under and past the pack of helicopters. She thrust the ignition pedal forward and now her plane was veering back up through the clouds. She was going to circle back around and re-engage her enemies.

Using the thick clouds as cover, Carina now took the offensive position. Although she was outnumbered, her aircraft was much faster. Her weaponry more advanced.

Sweat was pouring down her forehead. The glass visor of her aerial helmet was fogging up. Her right hand moved from the steering wheel and now closed around the thick knob of the missile control board. She could see the three Canadian vessels again. The helicopters were trying to spin back around and face her.

But they were way too slow.

Carina slammed the circular knob down and six missiles launched from beneath her plane’s quivering wings. There were two missiles for each of the enemy vehicles.

As the pulsating projectiles seared forward, Carina could almost make out the faces of the Canadian pilots. They were just little kids.  Three young girls. Their faces were trembling with fear and horror. Their eyes locked in on the approaching missiles that were about to seal their fates. There was no hope. No chance of life.

They were all about to die.

The missiles connected into the targets now. Carina could see the metal plates of the helicopter’s bodies shredding apart in front of her. The three young girls were engulfed in fire. The explosion lit up the entire sky in an orange glow. Shrapnel was ricocheting in all directions as the helicopters began their death descents back down to earth. Carina’s aircraft was shaking violently from the reverberations of her air strike. As she tried to regain control, she could see that the clouds in front of her had formed into a rapidly spinning funnel. The wind was dragging and sucking Carina’s own aircraft toward the falling helicopters.

Shooting back out from the wind funnel were the rotor blades of the helicopters. The blades were launching at Carina’s aircraft like a massive chainsaw, about to slice her apart.

Carina pushed forward on her ignition bar trying to veer away. But her plane seemed almost trapped in interstellar quicksand. The wind was reaching out like claws holding her vehicle in place. The spinning jagged blades getting ever so closer now, on a direct path to her cockpit.

And then suddenly thick streaks of bullets pulsated across the front window of Carina’s aircraft. The storm of bullets evaporated the approaching blades into particles of harmless dust. Knocking down each of the three blades right before they were about to hit.

Through the cockpit’s tinted windowpane, Carina could see another fighter aircraft zipping by her. The wings of narrow plane were painted in bars of green, white, and orange. It was one of her colleagues, arriving just at the right moment to her rescue. 

Carina gathered her breath. She could see that her own leather pilot suit was soaked to the core with sweat. Above her left breast pocket was the insignia of the Irish flag and the 13th air force unit.

The other plane had veered back toward her and the pilot was signaling for her to follow. The main objective still remained and they had to push forward. Carina steered her plane in pursuit of her colleague. They zoomed down out of the clouds and lower toward the Earth. And now Carina could see the full extent of the raging battle around her.

The ground below was ravaged by bomb strikes. Forests engulfed by billowing fire. A small town decimated by craters and flattened buildings. And the skeletons… were everywhere… their skinless bodies strewn all over the streets. There were limbs stripped of their flesh and interwoven together, as if knitted together into a massive quilt of death and suffering. A lone red maple leaf flag still whipped in the distance. And that’s where their planes were heading. The one and only building that was still left standing.

Carina steered her plane forward. Her fingers instinctual reached forward to the circular knob of her weapon control board. She was reaching for a different lever. This one was larger and she could see the bold print – OBLIVION STRIKE – next to her. She could see her colleague’s fighter plane beginning its bomb drop preparations. The plane was pulling up and slowing down above the large building. At the base by its duo engine turbines, a door was sliding open, and the explosion unit lowering.

Carina peered desperately through the tinted glass of her cockpit. She strained her neck for a better view of her target. The building seemed to be some type of chapel. The Victorian style pillars arched upward towards a tower. The large bell rocked back and forth as if to commemorate this final moment. The Canadian flag trembling from the…

The voices…

It was the voice of the human masses crammed into the chapel. Through the stain glass windows, Carina could see all of them. The humans piled on top of each others, stacked and squirming but still alive… pressed against the glass and looking up, and straight at her.

Their voices and their eyes were crying out for mercy. Spare us! Just us!

The Canadian flag trembling. Carina’s plane trembling from the surge of desperation.

She could see her colleague’s plane swooping over the chapel like a hawk over its wounded prey. The bomb was dropping through the air. It was too late. And now Carina’s plane was hovering over the chapel. Carina wanted to stop herself, but her body seemed to have a will of its own. “Please don’t…don’t!” Carina screamed. But her own hand was pushing down on the lever.

“Oblivion strike now commencing… in Three… Two… One…” a booming mechanical voice announced through her cockpit. Red lights flashed all around her. She pushed up on the steering wheel and her fighting airship was hurrying up and away from the chapel. Carina could see the bomb plummeting from the body of her plane.

Carina looked away and buried her head against her chest. Tears flowed down her cheek and neck.

There was impact.

 She could feel it in the rattling of aircraft vessel. The seat slammed into her back and legs. The explosion was so loud that Carina could no longer hear anything. A complete wall of silence encompassing her. White light all around her through the glass panels of the cockpit. The glass was beginning to crack from bomb strike.

Her plane was spiraling higher and higher. And higher… and then finally the plane just stopped. The white light was gone. She could hear the delicate beeping of her control board. Carina could tell that her vehicle had stopped shaking. It was as if she was just levitating in mid-air. Her plane positioned perfectly level and looking forward at the view.

Right across from her was the other plane. It was also just levitating there in perfect unison and in-sync with her plane. Parallel with each other, the noses of their aircrafts pointing toward the flattened screen shot of the horizon. Like they had just gained front row seats for a show. Like they were awaiting the start of the movie.

The world in front of Carina seemed almost unreal. The grey nuclear plume cloud before their planes kept growing and growing. Its dark billowing form contrasted against the bright orange sheen of the setting-sun sky. The plume from the explosion was more massive then anything she had ever seen before. And Carina felt so small and so insignificant before its ever-growing mass. The destruction and battle-torn towns that were below were just wiped clean now. A flattened wasteland swallowed up in the swirling mushroom cloud of toxic death.

Carina was transfixed by the mounting nuclear cloud in front of her ship. The dark cloud was both frightening but also in a way beautiful, pulsating against the orange skyline. As Carina’s eyes remained unwavering, she caught a glimpse of a new form creeping into view.  Reflected in front panel glass of her cockpit, Carina could see her companion’s plane again.  And it was inching its way forward to the plume of dust.

Carina turned toward her companion’s vessel. And for the first time, she could finally see the face of the other pilot.

The pilot was also a female. The woman had curly red hair that was tied back into a bun. And her face… her face looked just like Carina’s. It was as if Carina was staring straight into a mirror. The same chin, cheeks… the same blue eyes. And now the young woman was looking straight at her.

The woman waved at Carina and then gave a thumbs-up sign for a job well done. The female pilot then twisted her wrists forward as if signaling Carina to follow again.

The other fighting airplane was rocketing forward. Its path set straight for the heart of the mass of nuclear gas. Without thinking, Carina could see her hands pushing on the ignition lever. Her vessel launched forward in pursuit of the other plane. Their fighter aircrafts were parallel again as they surged toward the thick death cloud. The planes veered closer together, wing tips almost touching, as they flew on.

Pressure was building all around Carina. The cockpit was consumed by heat. Everything was shaking again. She could see the nuclear plume ever so close now. It was like an angry spinning tornado… black at its core… a rotating cyclone from hell. The center seemed to have gnashing teeth, eating away at everything around it. The windows of her cockpit were already cracked. But as her vehicle throttled toward the mushroom cloud, Carina could see the cracks rapidly spreading across the entire window cover.

And then the glass was suddenly shattering all around her.

She could feel sharp chards rattling against her face and cutting into her skin. Carina tried to twist away from the explosion of glass, but it was to no avail. She could feel wet blood seeping down from her forehead. Her vision was now obscured. Her eyes coated in a thick screen of red.

Carina frantically wiped some of the blood from her face. She twisted her neck around and to check on her twin in the other plane. Through the bloody crimson haze, Carina could see that the other fighter plane had been similarly damaged. Like hers, the window glass of that jet had shattered around the other woman.

But her red-haired twin was now standing up. The woman was leaning out of her plane. She was reaching her hand out through the shattered window frame of her plane and towards Carina.

It was as if there was a magnetic energy pulling them together. Carina felt herself being lifted from her seat. She leaned against the side of the cockpit, the jagged rim where the glass hood used to be, pressed into her left elbow.

Carina stretched out her right arm, reaching towards the hand of the other woman.

As the planes plummeted into the churning nuclear cloud, their hands finally reached each other. Their fingertips locked together.

Holding on tightly.

Immersed in the dark grey cloud, Carina was now face to face with the other young woman. Delicate features, like a mirror image to hers. It was like they came from the same place. Like they were the same person.

They continued to grip hands from the edges of their separate planes. Their extended and lengthened arms united their vessels together amidst the suffocating smog of death. And now their hair, blonde and red, began to swirl and tangle together. Their faces nose-to-nose blended like sticky play-dough into one. Their hands and arms twisting until their bones were a singular unit.

Their fighter airplanes were now veering tip to tip like a kaleidoscope image – psychedelic green, white, and orange strips of metal angling and connecting. As the other woman melted into Carina, their planes were merging together as well. Transformed into one vessel that was diving through the center of the nuclear hurricane explosion.

The female pilot, with the curly red hair, had disappeared completely inside of Carina’s form. And as Carina remained trapped in the seat of the plane’s cockpit, encased in darkness, she could feel the woman churning through her veins and pores. The spirit of her strange twin companion was percolating within Carina’s shaking scared body.

“For too long we’ve been apart…” the foreign voice echoed from Carina’s frame. “Born from violence and united again by violence…”

“We are going to die…” the words fumbled out of her quivering lips.

“But we are going to die together… sister.”  

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