Nurturers & Destructors is a serialized novel, created during the 2021 A2Z Challenge hosted by Blogchatter
“T-30, guys. Buckle up, for it’s about to get real cold in here.”, Joseph Smith hollered to the rest of the team huddled in the back of the team. After 5 more seconds, the back door of the plane opened up and biting cold air rushed in, in a hurry. Almost immediately came the next command, “Meet you guys in 15 seconds. Don’t land, stay 10 feet off. All comms off, let’s go dark and move, move, move!”. The 12 highly trained assassins clad in black jumpsuits didn’t have to be told twice and jumped off in quick succession.
As they passed the 4000 feet mark, rather than deploying parachutes, the Air Destructors used the air currents around to buffet them and slowed down the speed and as they reached the ground. With less than 10 feet to go, they were floating above, rather than dropping to the ground.
Joseph activated his headset again and said, “Comms check. All units come in!” and one by one, the 12 assassins checked in. 1 mile away, the The Gates to Hell in Turkmenistan shone brightly in the night, as it had been for the last 50 years, apparently burning away the methane trapped in the ground. But in reality, for the last 50 years, it has been the resting place of the Fire Elemental. But no more.
As they removed their jumpsuits and facemasks, all their glasses could be seen. They were darker than the night and yet, shining bright in the light of the burning fire. They had to take care not to land, until they were all in position and ready to strike. It was well known that disturbing the Fire Elemental when you were on the ground meant that the ground would open up underneath you and swallow you into a well of lava. Once the teams were all in position, the assassins spread around and flew to the other side of the burning Gates. They were going to hit the Elemental from all sides and they were going to hit hard.
Once the teams were in position, Joseph counted them down from 3. As they reached 0, all of them, except Joseph, dropped to the ground. But before they could hit the Fire Elemental, they were startled to hear a low, growling voice coming from the burning Gates, “I am glad you decided to wake me up. It’s been a while since I have had some action, and to be honest, I was wondering if I still had the fire in me.” The Elemental chuckled at it’s own joke and continued, “It’s been nice knowing you boys, but while I get ready, do you mind playing with my friends?” With a blinding flash, the circle of assassins was surrounded by a larger circle of Grand Legionnaires and about 10 seconds later, the Air Destructors were no longer conscious, having gotten the Air spirits knocked out out them.
The beauty of each of the offices of the International Elemental Organization is that every office building, though modern and built with steel, glass & exposed concrete, also existed as one with Nature. Trees grew through the building, soil and rocks could be found in some rooms, and in winter, the walls and grounds radiated heat. The added advantage was that interrogation cells took on a whole new dimension.
Half an hour later, the Grand Legionnaires had moved the Destructors along with Joseph Schmidt to the European Headquarters of the International Elemental Organization, in rural London. When the assassins became conscious again, they were being held in oversized individual cells, trapped by swirling currents of water, tightly looped tree roots around their limbs and necks and some special cases were even wedged between massive stone pillars which could be brought up from the ground.
Lily Arthur, the Lead of Destructor Hunting prowled around the steel reinforced underground cell, waiting for Joseph to regain consciousness. He was one of those special cases. While his arms and neck were firmly held in place by tree roots and creepers, his body was also wedged between two coarse stone pillars, with jagged edges that dug into the skin and felt like a serrated knife cutting through freshly baked white bread.
Lily really needed a break. It had been 3 days in the waiting for these assassins to make landfall and now, it was finally time to make them pay and repent. She spoke quietly, the mic embedded in her glasses picking up her voice clearly, “Make sure that each and every one of them have the Decapacitor fitted. Hardwire it into their skulls, if needed. I don’t want any of this scum working with the elements anytime soon.” And soon there was a blue light emanating from a button that had been placed on their back, where the nerves coming from the brain, met those coming from the spine. The Decapacitor was used to block the captive from harnessing their body’s electrical signals, and thus, making them unable to interact with the elements.
As Joseph stirred, Lily took a hard look at him and poked the air in his direction. The next moment, as a stream of hot air rushed into his lungs, Joseph struggled for breath.
“Joseph, Joseph, Joseph Sebastian Schmidt, I hear you have been very busy over the last few months. The hurricanes in the East, the earthquakes down in Peru, the numerous storms across South Asia, they all had your Touch, along with, I am sure, the rest of your Destructors’. The Elementals were not pleased and then you went behind one of the Elementals themselves. Not nice, not nice business at all, Joseph.”, said Lily, with a wide smile. “But anyway, it’s nice to finally meet, isn’t it? Oh, where are my manners. I am Lily Arthur, the Lead of Destructor Hunting for Europe and South Asia.”
Breathing heavily from his recent bout of forced air intake, Joseph smirked, but kept his mouth shut. Lily, still smiling, said, “Well, I hate to talk to a wall. But do you know why we allow Nature to help instead of using robots in here? We actually tried robots. But, they just lacked the… feeling of Nature. Robots don’t feel, but Nature knows when you have been messing around with the elements. You messed with elements and even an Elemental…” While Lily was talking, she walked towards him and as she came closer, he could see her face become more and more pained and her fists clenching hard. With every step she took towards him & every word she said, the tree roots grew tighter around his neck. But Joseph wasn’t going to talk. He couldn’t talk.
And it seemed like even Lily realized this, for she suddenly stopped walking, gave an exasperated sigh. But when she spoke next, there was a grey glow in her eye. She held up her hands and said to Joseph, “Excuse me for a moment, while I just step out and… heat up my palms. A little too cold for my liking down here.” Clasping her hands together, she turned back and started walking towards the steel reinforced door, which opened as she approached. But as her hands came together, her eyes glowed and the pillars of rock between which Joseph was wedged also came closer. Watching her walk out of the room, the smirk on Joseph’s face vanished as he realized what came next.
Lily stepped outside the room and the door closed behind her. Then, she started rubbing her hands together in an earnest attempt to bring some heat back into them. From inside the room, through the reinforced concrete walls, came the blood-curdling scream of a man who had his torso sandwiched between two rough, jagged, grinding stone pillars, “I WILL SAY. LET ME TALK… LET ME SPEAK! PLEASE!”
Nature did not forgive or forget easily.
Next: Chapter F – Through the Looking Glass
Releasing on April 7th