As the seconds wore on, Nnedi became less and less aware of the devastation surrounding her. The background had all but faded into non-existence as far as she was concerned; reduced to a blur in the corner of her eye.
What had been the epicentre of the most peaceful and self-sustaining empire in the realm was ablaze, flames licking at the structures that now served as both the graves and the tombstones of its people. Thick smoke swelled into the sky, carrying with it the smell of blood and burning flesh.
The earth was crying out for revenge. It mourned the blood soaking into its bosom, the nature that once thrived but now curled up and gave way to never grow back. Even the wind howled at her with the screams of those who had perished.
Nnedi wanted to listen but she simply couldn’t. Not until Sacha came back to her. Everything else could wait- including her own gaping wounds.
“Breathe, damn you,” she cried. “I swear, if you leave me like he did-!”
Without warning, pain erupted forth from her chest. Nnedi doubled over, clutching desperately onto Sacha’s charred hand to anchor herself to the world of the conscious. She had wounds from the explosion, and all of them had been pining for her attention, but none were as demanding as this. It would accept nothing less than her full attention.
Nnedi ripped open the front of her shirt. A network of veins as black as the scorched earth fanned out over her chest from an unseen origin, steadily making its way to her heart.
Only one thing could cause her that much pain with no rational explanation; pain that wasn’t hers.
This proved it; wherever he was, Theo Pallis was badly hurt. He was dying. As a result, she was dying, too.
“I knew that jerk would get us killed.”
To be continued…