A scream echoes through the woods.
"Did you hear that," she asks jumping over a branch on the faint path.
"Yes...no...possibly? I need to do the math," Tony says reaching up to check the zipper imbedded in his skull.
"I think it came from over there," Darcy says. She bolts off through the trees leaving Tony to stumble after her. Through a gap in the trees sits a little house covered in moss and creeping vines. Three men and a dark haired woman stand over a fourth kneeling on the ground. The kneeling man's hands are tied behind his back and blood drips from temple and split lip.
A gun is pressed to the woman's temple by a man dressed in a long black coat. The lower half of his face covered in a black mask. Darcy's taser is in her hand before she can think about it. She aims and presses the trigger. The man holding the gun disintegrates.
Everything falls to dust but a wooden post with a bit of metal stuck near the top. Opposite the post is a metal sculpture tall as a man, covered in filth and weeds. Blue eyes stare out of a small window in the metal and Darcy's belly twists with fear. "Oh my God, someone's in there."
It's not a sculpture at all. It's a coffin.
"Well of course they are, sweetheart. This is the O.Z. after all. They put people in....people in...people..." Tony glitches and she smacks him hard on the arm. "Hi, I'm Tony..."
"Balls," Darcy mutters under her breath. She pushes through the weeds to the metal coffin, raps her knuckles against the side twice. There is an answering knock. Just once, but it's enough to have Darcy scrambling at the hinges, nails scraping on the metal. "I need something to hit this with."
"I've got just the thing...nope. I forgot," Tony says.
"It's okay," Darcy says flicking her gaze over the homestead. A small anvil stands a distance away with a hammer half buried in the dirt.
The hammer is heavier than it looks.
She uses it to tap the pins from the coffin. The door screams in protest and Darcy chokes on the fetid, metallic smell that fills her lungs.
A man dressed in rags, dirt and streaks of metal covering every inch of him falls from the coffin to the earth. He takes in a great lungful of sweet air. "Where is he?"
"Who?" Darcy asks.
"The Winter Soldier. The Witch's puppet," the man says, voice rough and cracked.
"We're trying to get to Central City, Mister," Darcy says when the man stands at the edge of the wooden dock. The straight razor still gripped tight in his hand.
"Captain," he says. A shiver running through him.
"Okay, Captain," Darcy starts and the man shakes his head.
"Rogers. Steve Rogers," he says turning to face her. Steve's hair is still damp but his face is clean shaven, with sharp cheekbones, full lips and bright blue eyes.
"Okaaaay, Captain Rogers, I'm Darcy Gale Lewis. I need to get to Central City."
"Trust me, Kid, you don't wanna go there. It's too dangerous," Steve says bending down to scoop up his hat from the wood planks of the dock. He shoves the hat on his head and runs his fingertips over the straps of his gun holster.