|Crash and Burn
Author: HeroInTraining PM
A fire starts at the school Reality is attending. Though the kids hate her, she still saves the day. But will it cost her her life? Rated for minor violence.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Family - Words: 1,917 - Published: 05-26-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8152519
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
OK, this idea's been bugging me for a while, so here you go. Reality, you've made it this far. You can keep going.
Random Reality Idea
In the cafeteria of Snow Valley Middle School, a lunch lady was putting the last round of grilled cheese sandwiches into the oven. She left the area for a few moments. While she was gone, some of the circuitry in the oven decided to stop working. It was the wiring that kept the internal temperature stable. The temperature quickly shooting up, the sandwiches and the oven burst into flames.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the school, specifically the seventh grade wing, 13-year-old Nikki Storm was sitting in her science class. She drummed her fingers on the lab table, waiting for her teacher to end the lecture. She could not even whisper to the friend sitting next to her. Ever since she came back from the dead the year before, she was shunned. Suddenly, one of the lunch ladies bolted down the hall, shouting.
"Quick! Clear the building! Fire!" she cried.
Everybody in the room jumped up. Her tone of voice made it clear there really was a fire. The students made a mad sprint for the door, their survival instincts kicking in. Many of the teachers followed. The rest stayed near the entrance in the lobby, telling them where to go. Nikki was with those teachers. In their panic, the pupils forgot that Nikki had turned evil not that long ago. When the mob ended, all but one of the teachers trailed the children.
Nikki ran back to the seventh grade wing. The flames grew larger by the minute, and smoke filled the air. "Miss Geokis! What are you still doing in here?" she asked her mathematics instructor.
"Nikki, they're still some kids trapped near Mrs. Aei's room," Miss Geokis explained.
"Don't worry; I'll make sure they get out." She flew over fallen walls and ceiling tiles. The building was coming down fast. Nikki quickly found the children and sent them to safety. She was about to leave when she heard a cough. By then Nikki was doubled over coughing and could barely breathe. Still, she forced herself to check.
"Reality, thank goodness," the boy whispered. He crawled out from under a desk inside the classroom.
Nikki knew she was not strong enough to send this boy to safety. She did not know what to do. While Nikki was debating, the last support beam gave way. On the spur of the moment, Nikki committed what could be her last selfless act. As the roof came crashing down, she created a dome around the boy to protect him. Nikki, unable to protect herself, was crushed.
Outside the building, fire trucks had just started to arrive. Ambulances followed; ready to treat those who were in the smoky air longest. Many of the students were having a panic attack, especially Kati Steck and Mandy Reese, Nikki's best friends. They had only recently begun to realize that Nikki was in complete control. A teacher was comforting Kati and Mandy, but they were still worried.
"Where's Nikki? She should be out here by now," Mandy fretted.
"I'm sure she's fine. She has to be. Superheroes aren't hurt by little things like fires," Kati assured her friend over the roar of the water pumps.
A few minutes later the fire had been put out. The firemen began clearing away the rubble where Miss Geokis said Nikki was last. They were about to give up when they heard a faint call for help. It was the boy Nikki had saved. Listening to the cries, the firemen quickly located the boy. He was under a flickering pale pink dome. It was a miracle it held with Nikki unconscious. The firemen sent him to the paramedics and continued their search for Reality.
They found her a while later underneath a smoking beam. She was barely breathing and most of her bones were shattered. She was put on oxygen and rushed to the hospital.
Kati and Mandy were permitted to ride in the ambulance since her family had not yet been alerted. The 20-minute ride seemed to last for hours. With each strangled breath the friends cringed, hating the fact that their best friend was in so much pain. Finally the ambulance pulled into the emergency parking lot. Kati and Mandy watched as the paramedics gently placed Nikki on a stretcher and brought her inside the hospital.
When the doctors took Nikki to the surgery wing, Kati and Mandy were instructed to wait behind. About an hour later a doctor approached them holding a clipboard.
"Hello, my name is Dr. Kress," he introduced himself. "Are you Nikki Janice Storm's friends or family?"
"Friends," Mandy answered hurriedly. "Is Nikki okay? Where is she? Will we be able to visit her?"
Unfazed by the teenager's flurry of questions, the doctor replied, "Miss Storm has some serious injuries to her upper body, mainly her abdomen. Some of her ribs are broken and one of them pierced her lung. Currently she is still in surgery and is expected to be there for at least another hour. When she is released you may visit her. I won't lie; she's in pretty bad shape. Her chances of survival are considerably low."
"Oh." Kati looked stunned at the depressing news. "Nikki's a fighter, she'll live through it. Thanks, doc," she told the medic, though she sounded like she was trying to convince herself.
"I guess we should call Johnny and Sue," Mandy suggested as the doctor walked away. At Kati's nod of approval, she pulled out her cell phone. After several seconds of ringing, Reed Richards answered.
"Reed Richards speaking," he verbalized, sounding distant.
"Hi, Reed, this is Mandy Reese. Can you put Johnny on the line?"
"Sure." Mandy heard him call for the second-youngest member of the Fantastic Four.
After several seconds of listening to Reed call for Johnny, he finally answered the phone. "Hey, Mandy, what's up?"
"Johnny, you need to come to the hospital," Mandy said grimly.
"Why? What happened? Is everybody okay?"
"Johnny, its Nikki. There was a fire at school, and she went back inside to save some kids, then a beam fell on her, and she was taken to the hospital," she gasped, not bothering to take a breath. "Right now she's in surgery. The doctor just gave us an update; he said she probably won't survive. Please, get here as soon as you can."
"I'll be there in five minutes," he said. "Flame on!" At the sound of his battle cry, the line went dead.
"Well? What happened?" Kati asked her friend. "Is he coming?"
"Yeah, now we should call Sue." Mandy dialed Susan's cell number. Her response was similar to Johnny's, minus the battle cry. When she finished, the teenagers tried to entertain themselves with their phones, but they found that they kept looking for the doctor. True to his word, Johnny walked through the doors less than five minutes later.
He appeared out of his mind with worry, his eyes crazed and his lips pulled in a tight line. Ignoring the girls, he rushed up to the desk. "Where's Nikki Janice Storm?" he demanded.
The nurse looked startled. She debated calling security before she realized that the worried man in front of her was Johnny Storm, the Human Torch. "She's in room 3C on the sixth floor. They just took her out of surgery."
"Thanks," Johnny replied as Kati and Mandy rushed up to him. They followed in silence, the only noise being the elevator music. When it dinged, all of them practically ran to room 3C. The door was closed and a guard stood next to it. Since her face was splashed over the tabloids, the extra protection was needed. Johnny pushed the door open and groaned. "Oh, Nikki, what did they do to you?"
Her entire body appeared broken. Her legs were held in place by cords hanging off the ceiling. Her arms lay limply at her sides. Even her once beautiful face seemed distorted, worse than when she was possessed by Dr. Doom. Her lips were puffed up and bruised, as were her cheeks. Cuts covered her eyelids. They looked deep enough to scratch her corneas. If so, she would be blind for the rest of her life. That would not make her very happy.
"He was right," Mandy muttered. "This is bad. Really, really bad."
Johnny sank into a chair, his face buried in his hands. "I just got my sister back, and this is what happens? First she was captured, then brainwashed. I thought the world was gonna end when she died. When she attacked, I knew everything was gonna be all right in the end, but Tony and Thor came along. That time she spent in a coma seemed worse than when she was dead. Not knowing if she was ever going to wake up, or if she felt pain… And now this happens. Right when she starts to act like herself again. Why do the best people have to go through so much pain?"
Kati walked over and kneeled next to him. She removed Nikki's tattered clothing and tossed it on another chair. "You know what? The pain is a test. Surviving that, emerging as a better person, that's why. The world lucked out when Nikki was born. I mean, if she hadn't gone up in space and become Reality, she'd still have gone on to do great things. Take pride in that."
At that moment, Nikki let out a groan. She opened her eyes as far as she could, granting they were covered in fresh scabs. "Who's there?" she whispered, unable to make out faces. She could see blurry shapes, but nothing was clear.
"Nikki!" Johnny bolted up and stood next to her bed, beaming. "It's me, Johnny. Kati and Mandy, too."
Sue Storm walked in, a scared look on her face. "Is she alright?" she asked, not noticing her open eyes.
"Sue?" Nikki questioned, still groping for Johnny's arm.
"I'm right here," she said, putting on a watery grin. "Never do that to me again."
"What, you think I willingly did this?"
She must be feeling better. Or she just doesn't want us to know how much she's hurting, Johnny thought. Typical Nikki behavior: crack jokes to lighten the situation and draw attention away from the problem at hand.
Nikki tried to hide a grimace. "I've always dreamed of what it would be like to go down fighting. To die with honor. I'm not ready, but this must be what it feels like. I like it."
The adults smiled at her while the teenagers shook their heads, grinning as well. "Let me guess. Cap brought you up to this?" Sue giggled.
"How did you know?" Nikki closed her eyes. She felt exhausted, the medications taking a toll on her mind.
"Because I've known you for more than a day." Noticing the tired look on her face, Sue kissed her cheek. "Goodbye, Nikki. Come on, girls, I'll take you home." With that, the trio left the room, leaving the brother and sister alone. "She'll be fine," Sue assured the two. "After all, she is Reality."