The house loomed over the pair as Emmet and Misu, two quite gifted individuals, paced the lawn in worry. Well, Emmet did. Misu stared at the house, trying to figure out why in the hell would Madigan make them come here? And where was Liora?
Emmet voiced their thoughts. “She should be here by now! 300 miles per hour, and she still can’t make it here on time. Misu, I’m thinking we should go in already.” Electricity flitted over his skin, bolts of yellow contrasting the brown.
Misu sighed and turned around. “Maybe if you look up, you’d feel a bit better?” They pointed above Emmet’s head, and sure enough, Liora circled above them and landed in front of Misu with a thump.
“Sorry about that. Bad time keeping skills, you know?” Liora folded her wings against her back, and marched up to the house. “Old and creepy. Why are we here again?”
“Dunno. You got the same text I did.” Emmet walked up to join her. “Misu and I haven’t gone in yet.”
Misu pushed around them and grabbed the handle. “Yeah, we were waiting for you.” Finding it locked, they tried to wiggle it open, but to no avail. “What do we do now?” they asked, stepping back.
Liora grinned. “Move. I got this.” She cracked her knuckles, and, lighting her fist on fire, punched a hole through the door as if it were butter. She quickly pulled the fire back, not wanting to burn the house down. Reaching through the hole, she unlocked the door and pushed it open. “See? Easy peasy.”
“Li, don’t do that again!” Misu protested, following her into the house.
“Li, you should do it again when we get the chance!” Emmet’s voice drowned out Misu’s, causing the other to sigh. Their datemates really didn’t have impulse control, did they?
Misu blinked as the door swung closed, plunging them all into darkness. “Umm? What’s going on?” they said, reaching forward. Their hand brushed a wing, and they followed the feathers to grip Liora’s shoulder. “Okay, I take it back. Set something on fire, please?”
A snap, and Liora raised her flame-encased hand. “That good, babe? We can kinda see.” She grabbed Misu’s hand with her free one and squeezed it gently. “I know how you feel about the dark.” She smiled at Misu, reassuring them.
Misu nodded. “Yeah. Glad you’re here for the light.”
“Hey, don’t forget, I’m the light in everyone’s lives, and I can do it, too!” Emmet pointed out, and a ball of crackling electricity manifested in his palm. He pulled Misu’s other hand to his lips and kissed it. “I’m so much better, right? Ow!”
Liora had kicked Emmet’s leg, jokingly irritated with him. “See? I took karate. I can fight, unlike your flailing, Thunderclap .” She flipped her braid off her shoulder with a smirk, then turned back to continue on.
“Shut up, Ethereal Phoenix ,” Emmet shot back. “I have my own fighting style, okay? Don’t hate what you don’t understand.” He stuck his tongue out at her and increased his light. “Look, I even had the great idea to light more than two inches in front of me. This floor or next floor first?” He pointed at the stairs that ascended to the dark, littered with paper and rat poop.
Misu grimaced at the sorry state of the steps. “This floor, first. We’ll worry about that later.” Their hand tightened around Liora’s, noticing the even worse living room. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”
Walking forward, Emmet kicked aside the tarp that covered the floor. He jumped back in surprise when it revealed a scratchy and stained surface. “Yeah, I do too. What happened here?” He pulled out his phone and scowled. “No signal. I can’t even look anything up. Li, you got anything?”
Liora shrugged, staring at her own phone. “Nope. Nothing. The data gods have abandoned me.” She stuck it back in her pocket and took Misu’s hand again. “We’ll just have to go it alone.”
“You mean, we’ll have to wing it?” Emmet immediately said, never one to miss a good pun opportunity. He got a face full of feathers when Liora slapped him with her wing. “What? That was a good one, admit it. You’re just pissed that you didn’t say it first.” He shoved her wing away and grinned.
“Now isn’t the time to make puns, Emmet,” Misu reprimanded, rolling their eyes. They stepped closer to Liora as a skittering sound came from above. “What was that???”
Liora stretched her arm close to the ceiling, huffing when her short frame prevented her from doing much. She deftly climbed onto Emmet’s shoulders. “Nothing up here,” she said as soon as she could see. “Ride, my loyal steed.” She dug her heel into Emmet’s side and laughed when he jumped in mock pain.
“Get off,” he said, trying to grab her waist. “You’re heavy.” He ignored her protests and set her on the floor, then felt Misu’s hand grab his wrist. “Calm down, I’m here.” Turning to smile at Misu, he saw their pale face. “What’s wrong?”
Misu reached out and yanked Liora closer. “I thought I saw something,” they breathed out, still staring at the same spot. “It was a dark shadow, it was there and then it wasn’t.” They shook their head roughly, trying to expel the thought. “No more joking around. We need to stick together, watch each other’s backs. Just like you do on missions, right?” Their grip on their datemates’ arms tightened.
Nodding, Liora moved Misu’s hand to her own. “Ethereal Phoenix and Thunderclap have got your back. Isn’t that right, big guy?” She looked to Emmet, and extended her wing to wrap around them both.
“Whatever happens, it happens to all of us. We’re not letting anything get between us. Ohana means family, and family means that no one gets left behind, or forgotten,” Emmet decided, steeling himself.
“We’re dating,” Misu countered. “It’s all more than family, and nothing will get past that. I love both of you and I won’t let you go.” They pulled Liora and Emmet’s hands in front of them. “Let’s keep going before anything else shows up.”
Snapping out of the moment, Emmet nodded and took the lead. He crept around the overturned couch, not liking the red stains on the bottom. “Looks like the table’s okay,” he said as they made it to what looked like a dining room. “Windows are worse for wear, though.”
It was true- the curved windows were fogged and cracked, and one had a few holes in it. Barely any moonlight streamed through.
“Well, this sucks,” Liora said. “The one lightswitch I actually found, and nothing turns on. Why can’t this be the opposite of every horror movie I’ve ever watched?” She stood near the kitchen wall, flicking the switch up and down. Suddenly, a rat ran across the counter, and she leaped into Emmet’s arms with a screech.
Misu hid behind Emmet. “I really hate rats,” they whimpered, staring at the counter.
Setting Liora down, Emmet turned to both of them. “Really? You’re fine with rats when it’s Madigan, but an actual wild rat shows up and you freak out?”
Liora crossed her arms. “Madigan is cute as a rat. That was not cute. That was hell.” She pouted, her eyes widening in her classic puppy-dog style. “Make sure there aren’t any more?”
Emmet grumbled and put his hand on the counter, sending an electric current across it and into any cabinets. “That should have electrocuted any living thing in there, so technically, I got rid of them. Happy?”
“I didn’t mean that , but okay,” Liora said, striding past him and throwing open the door to what looked like a laundry room. “Eew. Rotting clothes and ceiling pieces.” She lit a small plant growing out of the wall on fire, and watched as the fire traveled to the plants hanging from the ceiling. The fire engulfed the vines, but before it could burn down the house, Liora absorbed the flames. She felt a hand on her shoulder. “Oh, my god, it’s fine. Even if the flames do get out of the room, I can control them. Stop touching me.”
“Umm, Liora? We’re not even that close,” Misu said, worry in their voice. They moved closer to Emmet. “There’s nothing there.”
Liora stiffened and slowly turned around. Sure enough, nothing was there, but the hand on her shoulder remained. “Are you entirely sure about that?”
Emmet nodded. “We’re the only ones here?” he said, accidentally making it a question.
“Then why do I feel something on me?” Liora retorted, reaching up to it. The feeling vanished as soon as it arrived, and her hand met air. “It’s gone!”
“Ooooookay, let’s just keep going,” Emmet said, snatching up Liora’s wrist and pulling her away from the laundry room. “I saw a door on the other side of the living room, let’s go see what it is.”
He felt Misu’s hand slip into his other one, and he held both close as they walked past the probably blood-stained couch.
Misu shivered and stepped back as the trio made it to the door. “I’m afraid we’ll see dead bodies in there,” they said in a shaky voice. They moved their hand to Emmet’s back when he let go, watching as the door swung open.
“Ladies first?” Emmet asked, pushing Liora a little bit. He smiled, but the gesture seemed forced.
Liora rolled her eyes and strode in. “Just a bedroom,” she said, turning around. “The bed’s half decayed.” She made to walk forward, but the door slammed shut by unseen forces. “What the hell?”
“Li? Shit, I can’t get it open!” Emmet shouted as he frantically pounded at the door.
Liora rushed forward. “Get away from the door, I’m gonna try something!” She waited a few seconds, then focused. Her wings spread, tips brushing the walls, but no fire made its way down her arms. Dismayed, she tried harder, and she realized that no warmth even touched her shoulders. “My power isn’t working! What about you?”
“Nothing here,” Emmet yelled back. “The light I had just went away without me allowing it.” He tried again, but to no avail. “I’m shocked at the outcome.”
Misu slapped Emmet’s arm. “Not the time! What do we do now? The door won’t open, means you’re stuck!” They jiggled the doorknob, cursing under their breath.
A huge drop of water hit Emmet’s forehead. He looked up and saw the growing wet spot on the ceiling, and nudged Misu. “Think it’s time to go upstairs and check that out?” he asked.
Misu nodded, looking up as well. “Yeah. Li, we’ll be right back, we promise. Sit tight.”
“Be careful!” Liora said, her words muffled by the thick wood.
Pulling Emmet’s arm, Misu made their way to the stairs. They swallowed and carefully began ascending them, stepping lightly and avoiding the piles of gross paper and whatever the hell that thing was. Emmet stuck close behind them.
“Okay. That spot was towards the front of the house, we should go there?” Emmet tentatively asked.
“That seems to be our best bet,” Misu answered, already heading that way. They dodged a suspicious looking shape on the floor, and quickly reached the door closest to them. Opening it, they stepped back, expecting a flood, but the room was filled to the brim with water. A silver tinged barrier kept the water from spilling out. Misu stuck a hand through the force field and felt the water. “I’m going in,” they said, striping their jacket off.
“Wait, what? That’s a bad idea,” Emmet said, taking Misu’s jacket. “You don’t know what’s in there.”
Misu huffed and shoved their phone towards Emmet. “You two were able to use your powers earlier to help me. Let me help you.” They stepped inside the water and immediately felt the gills on their neck open. Blinking, they cleared the water from their eyes, then looked around the room They noticed an odd looking lever on the other side, and swam over to it. They pulled it down harshly, and the floor opened up to let the water drain.
“Misu!” Emmet shouted, rushing through the field. He kept away from the edge, terrified of falling.
Misu fell with the water into the room below. Realizing that Liora was in there, they panicked, but when they felt her leg hit their shoulder, they snatched it up and dragged her to the surface. “Are you okay?” they asked as soon as she righted herself.
“I’m fine, but what the hell?” she snapped. “Why’d it do that?”
“Lever thing. Got you out of the room, though,” Misu said, shrugging. They helped Liora to the edge that Emmet was standing on, and deftly pulled themself up after she stood. Weaving around Emmet, they saw that the barrier had disappeared, and left the room easily. “Come on, we’ve gotta get out of here,” they said, turning around to face their datemates.
Emmet nodded. “Yeah, that’s a good idea. Li, are you okay?”
Folding her wings back up, Liora nodded. “I think so. Even after we get out of here, I don’t think I can power up for a while.” She shivered, and Emmet slung Misu’s jacket over her shoulders.
“I think there’s a problem,” Emmet said, suddenly looking over Misu’s head. “Don’t turn around, but it looks like we have a visitor.”
Misu stiffened. “How close are they?” they hissed. They tried to look over their shoulder, but fear held them in place.
“Very,” Liora answered. She began moving forward, and if it weren’t for Emmet’s arm stopping her, she would have leapt at the newcomer.
The robed figure stepped between Misu and Emmet, and to Liora’s horror, another appeared in front of the stairs. The one closest to them laughed, a chilling sound, and they reached up to throw off their hood.
“Did I scare you guys pretty well?” Madigan asked, his laugh becoming more real by the second. He flipped his hair to the other side of his face. “Man, I loved scaring the shit out of you, Li.”
“Madi, are you kidding me?” Misu spat out. “That wasn’t funny!”
Madigan glanced back at Misu. “Sorry, Miso Soup. I actually didn’t think I’d get this far.” She faced them and pulled them into a quick hug. “Roommate pranks, you know?”
Emmet rolled his eyes, relaxing. “Confuse, don’t abuse, remember? Who’s that guy?” He pointed to the other figure, who now looked awkward just standing there.
“Oh, this is Alexander. He can create force fields. Come here.” Madigan waved Alex forward, then pulled down his hood. They mussed his hair up and laughed. “He’s a bit younger than us. I helped him create that hand on your shoulder, and he helped me put ketchup stains on the couch. It was pretty fun.”
“I really wasn’t sure about this,” Alex admitted. “I honestly haven’t known Madigan that long, and I’m still working out my powers.” He raised his hand, and he and Madigan were surrounded by a silvery barrier, not unlike the one on the door. “The water was weird.”
Liora glared at Madigan. “Don’t do that again.” She turned and stomped down the stairs, Misu’s jacket slung over an arm and her wings dragging behind her.
“I’m gonna follow her,” Emmet said. “It’s almost midnight, we should probably get back soon.” He hurried to catch up with Liora, and Misu shrugged at Madi.
“Guess I better go, too.”
Madigan watched them go with a sigh. “Damn. I kinda wanted more out of them,” she said dejectedly.
Alex laid a hand on Madi’s shoulder. “It’s probably better that you didn’t,” he pointed out. “The whole damn place could have burned down.”
Nodding, Madigan began walking towards the stairs. “True, true. I can get you home pretty quickly. How do your parents feel about horses?”