As Rivi approached the double doors that opened into the fourth hall, she could feel the heat radiating through the door. Rivi held her palm in front of the closed doors and stepped through the middle of the door. Seeing the fire ragging all around, she created an invisible bubble around her that caused the flames to become useless as they flickered against her.
Rivi heard yelling coming from the classroom halfway down the hall. She opened every door and checked inside for other people until she reached the door from behind, where she could hear the pleading calls. Realizing that the fire was stronger here than in the hallway, she decided it would be best to step through the door again instead of opening it.
"Where are you?" she called above the flames.
"Back here!" a young male's voice called with a hacking cough.
Rivi waved her hand and swept aside desks, books, and chairs. School textbooks burned brightly along the edges of the path she had created. She walked steadily up to the wooden partition that separated a small section of the classroom from sight. Rivi feared to walk any faster for the possibility that she may lose her concentration which was the only thing keeping her from being burned.
"We're back here... Some bookbags fell... I think my leg is broken."
Rivi walked to the right hand opening at the end of the partition closest to her. Seeing a few students behind the partition surrounded by flames, Rivi forced her protective shield to extend around all of them before she did anything. The three boys turned white in shock as they realized the fire’s heat was no longer affecting them.
"Bill, Ed,... Kurt?" Rivi asked, looking at the three of them over the pile on the floor that was Bill, jackets, and bookbags.
"You! How did you get in here?" Bill questioned, although the pain in his leg was apparent in his voice.
Rivi smiled slightly.
"Things aren't always what they first seem." Rivi said flatly, as she noticed a bunch of matches laying around the boys feet.
Bill noticed where Rivi's gaze fell, and his own face turned defiant, although Ed and Kurt looked guiltily at their feet.
"Well, are you going to get us help or not?" Bill demanded.
"Help is already here," Rivi answered, narrowing her eyes.
Bill stared at her blankly. Rivi's eyes closed briefly and then suddenly snapped wide open. Bill, Ed, and Kurt looked at Rivi in terror. Rivi stretched out her hands, palms up, and lifted her arms, bringing a pile of charred bookbags and coats off the floor and onto the shelves above their heads.
Watching the bookbags and coats, Bill, Ed, and Kurt shrank away from Rivi in fear. Rivi looked down at them sadly.
"I won't hurt you, although this fire could've injured more than a few people today," Rivi said, kicking at a spent firecracker at her feet. "Ed, Kurt,... I'll get you two out first. You two are not injured."
"The fire is too strong now— we'll never get out," Kurt answered, scared, and failing to remember that the fire was no longer endangering him, thanks to Rivi's protective shield.
"The fire has little effect on me," Rivi answered, matter-of-factly.
She stretched her hands out to the two boys, who stepped around Bill, still sitting on the floor. They took her outstretched hands tentatively as Rivi led them to the opening of the partition.
"Don't leave me here!" Bill called, terrified.
Rivi released the two boys' hands as they stood looking out into the fiery classroom. Rivi's long brown hair flipped off her shoulders as she turned to look at Bill, sitting on the floor.
"Don't worry. I won't," Rivi answered gently.
She placed a hand between the shoulder blades of the two boys' backs, and, drawing her shield in around them, she led them through the fiery classroom. As they reached the classroom door, Ed held the back of his hand toward the door.
"It's too hot to open," he said.
Rivi said nothing but pushed them screaming through the closed door. They stopped screaming once they realized they had walked through the door, and they walked in shocked silence through the inflamed hall and towards the door to the school grounds. Again, Rivi pushed them through the doors and into the safety of the schoolyard, where students and teachers were all gathered together. Ed and Kurt stumbled towards the nearest teacher who looked past them, shocked at Rivi, who had only come halfway through the door.
Rivi drew her head and shoulders back in to join the rest of her body back in the burning hallway. She walked back to where Bill was lying unconscious, overcome by the smoke.
"I've never liked doing this," Rivi told herself, as she waved her hand over Bill and caused him to be lighter than air which made him float.
Rivi grimaced knowing that because Aun Healers were more able to manipulate the atoms in a person’s body, doing this would surely sap her strength. She held her hands under his levitating body and guided him back through the fiery hallway where she had just led his friends. By the time she stepped outside the students and teachers were also joined by Dan, the dark-suited men, and the newly arrived firemen. As she floated Bill through the outer door and into the fresh air, the firemen were the first to rush to her side. Dan and the President’s men wisely held back.
Rivi lowered Bill to the cool grass, as the smoke-free air began to bring Bill back to consciousness. Rivi fell to her knees, and a firefighter immediately pushed an oxygen mask to her face. Rivi took a deep breath, coughed, and then pushed the mask away.
Closing her eyes, she ignored the protesting fireman, and with the last of her mental strength she stretched her shaking arms toward the sky. Choosing only oxygen atoms, she brought her arms down and breathed deeply a few times. When she opened her eyes, she found a few firemen carrying Bill on a gurney toward a medical truck. The other fireman, who held the oxygen mask, looked at her perplexedly.
Rivi smiled tiredly.
"I'm fine now, but thank you," she said weakly nodding to him as he stood up still looking confused.
She got up and walked past the stunned students and staff, and over to Dan and the men.
"You okay, Rivi? You look exhausted," Dan said, concerned.
"I am, but I'll be fine. Let's go and have that talk with the President," Rivi said, turning tiredly toward the men.
"Right this way," one of the men said, motioning toward two black SUVs parked along the edge of the schoolyard on the curb.
Rivi shuffled toward the vehicles until Dan offered to help. He took her arm and brought it around his neck to help support her. After a few more steps her legs went limp and he scooped her up into his arms.
"Thanks," Rivi mumbled as she rested her head against his shoulder. "I am both mentally and phhhhysically exhausted."
"What are friends for," He said more than asked, as they walked together toward the vehicles.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish