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Set Me Aflame
Hills and the plane stretched far beyond vision. After that, ocean. The breeze carried sweet pine, served with a hint of smoke. She lived among the trees and wisped on the California mountainside, leaving a trace of an eclipse. She surrendered to none, searing with grace and shifting direction alike to the wind. Her abode littered with a black kind of soot, dust. But she pressed by and continued with the gale. Around here, her presence was known by blue fingertips that stretched meters above the mountainside. You would see her only as far as the mountains would go, in the depths of crunching leaves and the dehydrated pine.
From the Pacific coast at her west, he brimmed static fever. The entire bank, corrupted with a constant buzz and branding the stamp of technology. Heng Lakshmi was inscribed on metal fences that mark the coastline, reserving massive warehouses of turbine engines, just like he had. A devout follower of the company, it was only fitting for him to work towards Lakshmi’s cause. His energy surfaced only around her, with her, but even then he only had one objective - the feelings were uninvolved and less than human. Today would be his time to face her.
His one of a kind engine revved with incredible heat, almost as if the water stored in his fuselage was at a boil. The champion of the first class fleet, yet he had never flown previously. The technology that frothed in his system overflowed with a power incomparable to any other developed by Lakshmi. In the depths of the engine and seatless cockpit, a mechanical sound voiced a mission. It was the one that his life revolved around and would be the most important task since the founder expired. Concise and straight to the point, he would set off to the mountains, search and destroy.
She, grace and beauty, was saturated with the deepest orange and nethermost blues. Aside from unusual buzz and the mumble of flushed wind, her path was clear. It was a calling, the grounds asked for the loving hiss that spoke her name and spread with a glow. This hum coming from above was almost familiar to her, though it did not make her any less precarious. It was coming from the west but made its way aloft. Her fingertips grabbed the edges of pine trees, peering up into what the beast could be. It was painted the dark grey of steel, easing with fear and splinting an unbeknownst angst among the pines. Her hands quivered, masked by dark winds. He was barely recognizable to her, but she knew his automated voice from somewhere. She knew the power of his propellers and the trees that bowed down to them, following the shape made by his wind. A round halo of wind formed a spot in the ground where the flame of the dry pine and crunching leaves suffocated, leaving only a round circle in the midst of meter high flames. They were her flames, of course.
“You look beautiful today,” his voice vibrated through the flames, alluring.
His tone was coated with thick sugar, to the point that it was nauseating. A lick of flame touched the flight deck, approaching where the noise had occurred from. “I want to get to know you,” he continued, but this time the fire made his voice out like stale fingertips scraped against a blackboard. It was mechanical and creaking, coming from every direction. She shrieked with displeasure and a shot of blue erupted just meters away from his halo. He, of course, would want to get to know her if it were in another life. If anything, she was the reason why he was here, why technology had come to exist. She had lived long before the time of man, and much longer before that - but it was only rightful for all to come to an end. Search and destroy. In like with this, he made the first move.
Her glow surrounded the entirety of his propellers, curiosity made her move closer despite a fear within. The distance between them came shorter and shorter and as she reached passed the imaginary barrier between the two, a sudden hiss and a detonation of water came, aimed straight at her feet, the base of the flame. Fames from all around expanded. Anger was thick and evident in the sea of black smoke. He drove forth, nevertheless, and propellers came to whipping speed as they drove her farther west.
West, west, west. His eyes were trained to see past the thick smoke, and only to the ocean. He left a trail of the sea water throughout, and she only tried to fight back through larger, giant flames. What a delight. The flames made his power arise, and his strength only grew. He kept onwards with the multitude of growing power, and the coast seemed to grow so much closer. Tens of hundreds of beeps and a mass of flashing lights bombarded the cabin and they raged at the hypothetical pilot. They told him to cease, the fire was slipping through cracks in the metal and the jet plane was tangled in flames. He went forward, nonetheless, feeling unjaded by the various warnings. I have one mission.
As the coast approached, she knew the lack of parched nature would eventually drain her fumes. She fought back against the craft with all the might and power she could conjoin, but it was like she left the majority of her power back at home, at the mountain. It was painful to keep going, as courageous as she might be, the searing moisture of humid air made her crave the parched feeling of ease. The fire slipped between cracks of steel and molded them into disfigured shapes, but the plane never tired and fought onward with consistent pressure. They had may their way to the coast as her flame started to wane, but she noticed that as her fire wavered, his helicopter wavered too.
He could focus on only one thing - her. The fire shrunk dramatically since making way from the treetops, but the beeping and lights only heightened - if a human were in the cockpit his eardrums would be shattered. The warnings seemed to have no affect on his ability, so what use was there in listening?
She heard the deafening signals that radiated through his cockpit ever since they exited the pine forest and the crackling sound was overpowered. For a second, though, there was a silence. This time, a certain noise spread from the craft, but it was not the constant beep. It was the same nails on chalkboard, mechanical and automated voice, but she only made out the words “water” and “breach.”
He had not heeded any of the warnings and so the two words that exited the speakers caused a deep disturbance throughout the system. The ocean water that was stationed at his fuselage had started to leak due to the disfigured metal, and drips had accumulated throughout. If he had more energy, he would be able to activate the emergency system to reseal the tank. But the second plan needed more energy, and his energy came from her and she was nearly gone.
She watched from below as thick smoke filled the sky, and flame ruptured the air in a bright red cloud. Bits and pieces of scrap metal flushed the surroundings and made way, mirroring a loud boom. Sparks flew all over as she laid to rest in the remaining parched metal, the same orange that brought the parched ease. He extinguished the beauty to reveal the beast. All around her, small flames started to erupt in their own homes, burning up like a spreading fever.