Lightning flowed in, coursing through my shoulder and into my gut. It writhed like a thing alive. It swirled along its path at the ready, waiting for release. I stretched my fingers apart, letting the current arc between them. No pops, just clean, regular matter electricity. I increased the current, sending it between my palms, widening the distance between them and increasing the current.
Thank God that’s over, now.
I grinned and looked at Jack.
He grinned back. “About fucking time,” he said.
“What are you whining about? I was dealing with this for days before you caught it.”
“Yeah, thanks to you. I flew halfway across the world for you. If that isn’t friendship, what is?”
He has a point. Even though he’s an ass about it.
“You’re right. Sorry. Thanks for coming.”
He grunted. “Catch.”
He tossed a bolt at me. I caught it, immediately letting it flow across my shoulders, though careful to avoid my heart, and back out my other arm straight at him. We continued to play catch for a few more minutes, each trying to put some sort of zing to trip the other up, either by pumping up the current or creating an alternate, ionizing path to his somewhere else on the other man. Jack was still much more experienced than I was, so none of my tricks worked on him, but I managed to fend off his tricks as well, especially since he taught me.
As we continued, though, I started to notice something felt off inside me. I sense of hollowness that I didn’t remember from before this whole mess happened. I went on autopilot with Jack, and concentrated on it. The bolt that had recharged us hadn’t been massive, but it was pretty strong.
Shouldn’t it have charge me up, more, even with splitting it with Jack?
Unlike phones, storm riders didn’t come with a gauge to tell us when we were fully charged.
“What?” He didn’t stop tossing bolts my way.
“You feel like you could hold more than before?”
He tossed another bolt before putting his hands down. Instead of returning it to him, I just absorbed it, letting it join the rest of my charge.
Jack drew down his eyebrows, concentrating. He frowned. “Huh. Weird.” Then he shrugged. “Okay, then.”
I was about to open my mouth to question more, then realized it would be pointless. Jack didn’t have any more answers, and it wasn’t like we had an instruction book around to look up the answers.
“Cool,” I said.
“Cool,” he said. He threw a bolt that caught me upside the head. “There. We’re even.”