Prompt: “Humans once wielded formidable magical power but with over 7 billion of us on the planet now Mana has spread far to thinly to have any effect. When hostile aliens reduces humanity to a mere fraction the survivors discover an old power has begun to reawaken once again.”
Ashley and Liam sat around a small flame in the middle of a destroyed building. Heavy rain hit the rooftops of the nearby piles of rubble. Just outside the doorway there was a larger crater quickly filling with water.
Liam kept glancing out through the doorway.
“Do you see something?” Ashley asked.
“No I don’t think so,” Liam said still looking out into the darkness.
“Then sit down and relax. You’re freaking me out,” Ashley said.
He turned back towards Ashley.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t just sit down and relax,” Liam said.
Ashley prodded the small fire with a stick.
“There’s no people out there,” Ashley said.
“I’m not worried about people. We can take people. I’m worried about the Travelers,” Liam said.
“I don’t know. We had some trouble with that lightning wielder,” Ashley said.
“She was really strong for a old lady,” Liam said. “We underestimated her which is a mistake I haven’t made again.”
There was a flash of lightning which lit up the night sky and then a crash of thunder. The light faded and Liam and Ashley were once again lit up by just the fire.
Ashley continued to prod the fire.
“How many of us are left?” Ashley asked.
“How am I supposed to know that?” Liam asked back.
Ashley rolled her eyes.
“You wouldn’t. Just take a guess,” Ashley said.
“Well the Travelers brought their chemical warfare and wiped out close to a billion people in the first week,” Liam said. ” I remember hearing that on the television.”
“Yeah I heard that too.”
“Then the warships came. Three weeks later we went a whole day without running into another person. Four months after that, I gained the ability to create fire out of my hands.”
To illustrate his point, Liam wiggled his fingers and tiny flames danced across his fingertips.
“Now it’s been almost a year since the first sighting of a Traveler and we run into other magic users, what once every other week? So I don’t think that there are many of us left.”
Ashley let out a small laugh.
“Yeah I remember when I thought that I was just imagining the world was ending. Life seemed simpler then,” Ashley said.
“Was that before or after you learned you could fly?” Liam asked.
“Way before,” Ashley said.
There was another crack of thunder.
“Why did you ask?”
“About how many of us are left? Just something to talk about I guess,” Ashley said.
Liam glared at Ashley.
“Was that really the reason?” Liam asked.
“Well I’m just wondering what’s the point of all of this,” Ashley said.
“The point? The point is we survive.”
“How long must we go one for?” Ashley said.
“I don’t know,” Liam admitted.
He rested his head in his hands.
“I just…there can’t be too many of us left, right? We haven’t seen anyone in almost three weeks. Plus our abilities are getting stronger. Maybe it’s time -”
“No!” Liam shouted.
There was a brief moment of silence where the sound of rain filled the room.
“No,” Liam said quieter. “You know that’s a bad idea.”
“All I’m saying is that we have to fight them eventually,” Ashley said.
“No one has been able to kill them,” Liam said.
“We don’t know that for sure,” Ashley said.
“Ashley!” Liam shouted again and things grew quiet.
“The last time we thought we were strong enough to kill a Traveler, there was six of us. It was over before it really began. We barely made it out of there with our lives,” Liam said.
“Yeah I know,” Ashley said with a heavy sigh. “I just think we need to have some kind of end goal in mind.”
Liam pulled Ashley close to him and kissed the top of her head.
“Don’t worry. We’ll continue to survive like this until we’re ready to take them on. I know running from place to place scavenging like animals isn’t any way to live. But for now we have to. We’ve made a lot of progress since Los Angeles, but we still have far to go before we’re ready to take on a traveler.”
Ashley seemed unsure but she leaned into Liam placing her head on his chest.
“Yeah I guess you’re right,” She said. “I’m just so tired of this.”
“Yeah me too,” Liam said.
“The funny thing is that when I was a little kid, I wanted magical powers. Now I have them and I don’t think they are worth it.”
Liam looked at his hand and the little flames emerged from his fingertips.
HELP!! HELP ME!!
Liam and Ashley jumped.
Liam ran to the doorway of the building and looked out into the rain. Ashley followed behind.
A voice rung out from the darkness.
“Human or Traveler?” Liam asked Ashley keeping his voice low.
“Hold on a second,” Ashley said.
She took a deep breath and the blue of her eyes grew until her entire eye was glowing blue. She looked out scanning the world for magical presences. Liam lit up like a beacon in her vision, but she didn’t see anything else.
“Non-magical,” Ashley said. “I don’t sense any Mana.”
Ashley blinked her eyes and her normal vision returned.
“Must be some kind of trick to lure out us out,” Liam said glancing at the sky.
“You think there’s some kind of Traveler ship around?” Ashley asked.
“Either that or the person can disguise their abilities,” Liam said.
“We did meet someone who could make themselves invisible to my abilities,” Ashley said.
HELP! HELP ME!!
“We can’t trust it,” Liam said.
“Obviously,” Ashley said.
Liam flipped up the hood on his raincoat.
“Extinguish the fire and let’s go,” Liam said.
She extended her hand and wind whipped through the building. The flames died and the light died with it. Liam and Ashley were completely in the dark.
Liam and Ashley held hands as Liam walked out into the rain. They inched next to the outside wall of the building. They did their best to move quietly among the rubble of many destroyed buildings. They continued to hear the screams of a voice from the darkness.
Ashley tapped Liam’s shoulder and pointed up to the sky. There hiding among the clouds was a soft glowing green light. As their eyes adjusted to the darkness, they could see a slight glint of a metallic ship.
Liam nodded understanding Ashley’s observation.
There was a flash of lightning and the ship was completely lit up for a moment.
HELP SOMEONE PLEASE HELP!
The screaming seemed to be closer to Liam and Ashley.
There was a loud screeching sound and both Liam and Ashley clutched their ears. Liam bit his lip keeping his mouth shut while Ashley let out a small scream.
Her scream was drowned out by the scream of the other person. The screeching stopped and then there was a moment of silence.
“Are you ok?” Liam asked Ashley
Ashley nodded. “Yeah I’m fine.”
Their conversation was cut short when a large light erupted from the sky. A large green light came down and covered the area.
Liam pushed Ashley against a crumbling wall and pressed his body against hers guarding her from the light.
The green light illuminated the area. Ashley saw out of the corner of her eye that there was a young man laying in the mud about 100 feet from their location. He was clutching his leg which was trapped in a bear trap.
The beam of light focused on the young man.
He noticed Liam and Ashley standing there and reached out his hands at them.
He screamed at them both.
“Come on we have to go,” Ashley said pushing Liam off of her.
She ran around the side of the building with Liam following behind. They ducked out of sight of the man and the green light. There was a sudden explosion originating from the ship in the sky.
The whole sky was lit up as Liam and Ashley were flung through the air. Large amounts of rubble and mud were thrown up with them as well as a fireball originating from the green light.
Liam and Ashley landed in a mound of mud and rubble. Both suffered from broken bones and puncture wounds from the airborne rubble.
“Ashley?” Liam called out.
His vision was blurry and his ears were ringing.
“Liam! Liam!” Ashley screamed.
The rain continued to fall covering both of them.
There was another screeching sound like they heard before. A green light emerged again from the ship in the sky. This time the green light hovered over both Ashley and Liam showering them with light.
Liam reached out and grabbed onto Ashley’s hand.
“Liam!” Ashley screamed.
The left side of her face was bloody and scared rendering her left eye useless. She could make out Liam with her good eye.
“Don’t worry Ashley, I have one last thing up my sleeve,” Liam said.
“What? Liam? What are you saying?” Ashley yelled.
Liam closed his eyes as the green light grew bright. Just before the laser cannon fired from the ship, everything slowed down. The rain drops grew slower and slower until they stopped. The entire world froze for a moment.
Liam’s body began to glow bright. The raindrops began moving, but this time it was in the opposite direction. They moved faster and faster upwards into the sky. The light grew softer. Then the screeching began. The building reassembled itself into rubble. The green light focused on a recreated man screaming for help. The light disappeared. Liam and Ashley were back in the building. The fire reignited.
Liam’s body stopped glowing and they were sitting around a small fire.
The raindrops hit the top of the building while Ashley poked the fire with a stick.
“Do you see something?” Ashley asked.
Liam looked out into the darkness.
“There’s a Traveler ship out there,” Liam said. “And there’s a magic user as well.”
Ashley jumped up from the fire.
“What do you mean?” Ashley asked.
“I…I just know,” Liam said clutching his head.
“You can sense it?” Ashley asked.
“I…I saw it. It was very vivid,” Liam said. “There was this laser and it killed us.”
“It killed us?” Ashley asked a little too loud.
“I stopped it right before we died,” Liam said.
“You can do that?” Ashley asked.
“I guess,” Liam said. “I’m not really sure.”
They turned towards the sound of a yell out into the darkness.
“This isn’t good. We need to run,” Liam said.
Header Photo Credit to Play Buzz Quiz about Superpowers
(I’m sure that’s not the original source, so if you know who created the header image, let me know!)
Writing Prompt submitted to r/WritingPrompts by u/Lorix_In_Oz