Thump thump thump. Diego’s hands drum a staccato beat on the Anu-Bus seat in front of him. He grins, remembering the cool drizzle of electricity down his arms, the thunderous explosion of contact, the happy solidity of simple violence. He hadn’t ever just let go like that, not when it mattered, not with so many people depending on him. And it had worked! They’d won!
Thump thump, thump thump. Leading with his fists, drawing the thunder, it had all worked out. He laughs along with the others at some joke that immediately melts from his brain, continues to tap on the seat.
Thump thump thump. Glancing around in the afterglow of the fight, Diego sees behind the big talk and sees pensive faces, hunched shoulders.
What’s up with them, he thinks. Didn’t we just win? Diabolox had gotten away, but that didn’t mean they hadn’t won.
Thump thump thump. Remembering The Mirror’s awesome display, he turns to glance her way, beaming. Her “face” shines back, distorting his grin to something monstrous, too-wide mouth in a tiny head.
His grin fades.
Thump, thump. Fists and lightning and thunder and rain are clean, loud, fast, and simple. In and out. Over and done. Here and gone.
Glancing down, he sees the crabkin ichor splattered on his pants, staining his boots. Not clean, not over. Still here.
Sizzling quick from some well deep inside, the anger comes as a bolt, a roar, shooting up and billowing out, drowning out the sound from his ears, rendering their voices a buzzing left far below him.
The edges of his vision glow blue. His fingers squeeze the restored pleather of the seat. His knuckles creak.
A memory clouds his sight. Stone walls, stone altars, bulging eyes, fangs, the bronze skin revealed in firelight. The scent of marigolds. The roll of thunder.
A deep breath. Two.
Did anyone see? A peek. No.
He relaxes his grip on the seat. The pleather is scorched where he was touching it.
He stares at his hands.