CHAPTER 19 – II
Commandeering (well, hot-wiring and stealing) a speedboat from the harbor, Aricame took to the ocean to give chase to Janifer. Her boat was bigger, more powerful, faster, and she had a dozen men onboard aiding her getaway. The distance between them at the start of the chase only increased as her craft began to shrink into the horizon. For one of the few times in his life, Aricame felt powerless. His intelligence and charisma, athleticism and artistry, had always distinguished him as wheat rather than chaff. He was the reigning Champion of Light with copious abilities only dreamed of by the authors of children’s stories. He should have been unstoppable. And yet, the pursuit came to a halt. For all his power, he was limited by the power of his vessel.
Aricame floated there, alone, surrounded by a featureless 360 degree panorama of aqua. He began to focus on his powers and how best to utilize them. His reflections soon led him back to Victoria – to his inability to save her. For all the power and potential that he possessed, he couldn’t bring the dead back to life. According to the Vicars Salamander, no Champion in history, Light or Dark, was able to reverse death. Even superhumans had limitations…but Aricame refused to accept this. Thinking back on all that he had learned and intuited about his “other” nature, the Champion began a quest to imagine the greatest power/ability ever unleashed on the planet. The irreversible had been initiated. Contemplating, he named this internal project after the sleepy beach town that he and Victoria had called home: Manhattan Beach.
Softly rocking back and forth on the breathing of the ocean, Aricame was taken by surprise (for the second time today!) and once again thrust into crisis mode – submerged, confused. Returning to the surface, he saw that his boat had been struck by Janifer’s. She had returned with her crew to finish the job! He realized then that he had been the target of this morning’s explosion, not Victoria. She was collateral damage. Aricame assessed the situation: Janifer’s boat was unharmed while his was destroyed; fuel covered the water’s surface with only shark fins cutting through the slick. Then he watched in horror as Janifer flicked a lit cigarette onto the petrol top layer, igniting everything around him. He dropped below only to see the open jaws of sharks rushing towards him.
What followed was nearly indescribably horrific. An ocean on fire with sharks swarming below its surface. Bullets torpedoing through both, and anything else in their way. Blood was everywhere. And somehow, through it all, Aricame (who was being torn to pieces and drowning simultaneously) mounted a defense. Acting purely on instinct, he commandeered the mind one of the massive fish, sending it up and out of the water, through the air like a flaming carnivorous missile onto Janifer’s boat. As he took over the minds of more sharks he sent them by the dozens onto the ship, causing carnage and destruction. The men who weren’t burned to death or eaten alive were sucked of all remaining life by Aricame, feeding his regeneration under the tumultuous waves. He was physically made whole again (even if his heart remained broken). As the flames and shark fangs dispersed, all that was left was for Aricame, victorious, and one other survivor bobbing in the waves.
A trip around the world, the greatest of our life
Deliberative, mapped out with my future wife
Meticulously plan how each adventure would unfold
Yet tales of the impulsive are the most retold