Derek had scrambled out of the truck as soon as it had come to a stop. So he was just in time to see the man blazing a ring of fire around the truck.
Derek felt like a cornered rabbit. He spun left and right; looking for a way out, but there wasn’t one. He also felt small, since his opponent was flying, and furry, since he hadn’t shaved that morning.
The flying man drifted inwards with his eyes locked on Derek. He was standing as though crucified, and the circle of fire was getting smaller.
Derek felt something break out of his fear. He ran towards the truck, already reaching his hand out to grab one on Laurie’s guns.
A sheet of flame detached from the ring and passed between Derek and the truck. “No, you don’t” said the man, “Not this time.” He lifted his voice and bellowed, “And you! Lady! Get out of the truck”
Laurie obediently walked out of the truck. The man let her pass through the flame, and then closed it behind her. Laurie looked oddly blank.
Derek couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He stared at Laurie as she joined him. “What do you think you’re doing?” he hissed, “Where’s your gun?”
Laurie didn’t reply; she didn’t even look at him. The man started talking again; he was using the kinds of tones that someone uses when they intend to force the world to make sense. “You two have caused me a lot of trouble” he paused, and breathed deeply through his nose, “and now here is what we are going to d-“
“Now Casper” said Laurie.
A whip of orange light lashed out from Laurie, and suddenly the man was falling in one direction, and his arm was falling in another.
The man’s arm hit the ground with a soft thud. The man’s everything else hit the ground with a loud thud. The flames vanished, and the desert was completely silent.
Derek simply couldn’t process what he had seen. He stood there gaping and watched Laurie. “You got the cube?” he asked at last.
Laurie took the cube out of her pocket; Casper was holding on to it, and if ghosts made sounds then Derek was sure he would be purring. “I found it while I was running through the building back there” she said, “I guess this means I did get to Casper back at the site”
Derek was jarred by this new piece of information. He swayed to the side like the earth was suddenly unstable, “You mean you didn’t know if he was attached to the cube? What if you had told him to attack and nothing had happened?”
Laurie took two guns out of the waistband of her jeans and threw one to Derek saying “I’m not stupid you know”.
She walked over to the man and said “Heal him, but make sure he stays unconscious”. Casper shot an orange beam out of the cube in her hand which surrounded the man and lifted the off the ground.
Derek took a step back and stared. “Why are you healing him?” he said.
“For interrogation” said Laurie, “He could have information that we need. Could you grab the arm and get the truck upright?”
Derek was disgusted. “Gaa” he said, pulling his head back, “I’m not touching that thing, and that truck is definitely not moving again” he looked back at the piece of modern art they had just installed, “Ever”.
Laurie turned around and whispered something to Casper, a second beam struck the arm, and suddenly there was a big piece of beef jerky and a glob of water draining into the desert a few meters away. “There” said Laurie, “It’s not unhygienic anymore”
Derek didn’t find the shrunken human paw any less creepy than the dismembered human arm, but he gingerly picked it up anyway, and turned to face the truck.
There was an oddly shaped lump near the top of the arm.
Derek looked away and closed his hand over the lump. He tried to imagine the truck rolling upright again. There was something there; he could feel something pushing sideways to his mind.
Derek focused harder. He thought about the truck spinning upright. He focused more, letting the energy build, and then suddenly he felt it break through.
The truck launched itself twenty meters into the air; spinning like a top.
The truck fell twenty meters out of the air, impacting like a brick.
Derek kept his mind blank and forced himself to stay calm. He picked himself up off the ground and brushed himself off. “Hey Laurie” he said, “It’s not going anywhere”
Laurie looked up. “That’s ok” she said, “I have a more fun way”