Chapter Fifteen- Cambio
Blaze nervously paced the hallway, anxiously waiting. Finally, a door opened and laughter rang out in the hallway.
"Pyro, you are an amazing guy. I'll see you tonight." A beautiful curvy brunette mermaid shape-shifter wearing a red beret and matching mini dress kissed Pyro on the cheek and sauntered down the hallway.
"Bye, Veronica." Pyro turned to Blaze. "Ah, now she's a keeper. Knows what to do, where to go, and when to do it. So what do you want, Blaze?"
"To tell you I'm out."
Pyro started laughing. "Blaze, what do you mean you're out? You can't leave, you know that."
Blaze shook his head. "Pyro, I'm done. This stupid plan, it's not going to work. Cambio's going to get us all killed. Merlin already killed DJ. How long is it going to be before we're next?"
Pyro looked at Blaze. "So you're scared of the warlock, is that it? Come on Blaze, you're better than that. What happened to the fighter that first joined Cambio? Where's that guy, huh? That's the guy I want to have my back during this, not this sniveling baby that thinks he can quit just because he got scared of a warlock."
Blaze hit the wall. "It's not that, man. It's…"
Pyro looked at Blaze and then started laughing. "Blaze, you cannot be serious. You want out because…ha! Because you're falling for the Keystone girl. Now isn't that sweet?"
Blaze's eyes flashed. "Look Pyro, that's not it. If you had seen Merlin and Az today…well, there's no way he's letting her out of sight and unprotected."
Pyro angrily balled his fists. "Blaze, we can't let that stop us. We'll find a hole. There's always a hole. She can't escape, there's no way Cambio's plan will fail."
Blaze punched a hole in the wall. "You want a hole, Pyro? There's your damn hole! Use that."
Pyro cracked his knuckles and stepped closer to Blaze. "Blaze, let me make this perfectly clear. You are going to go through with the plan. You are going to make this work. Do you understand, baby brother?"
Blaze shook his head. "No. I'm done helping a power hungry shape-shifter that wants to sacrifice his daughter on the night of a lunar eclipse."
Pyro swung and caught Blaze below his right eye. "Oh no, baby brother. You're not going anywhere."
Blaze wiped the blood off the cut from Pyro's ring. "Don't call me that anymore. I'm not your brother."
Pyro grabbed Blaze and jerked him back. "Oh no. You're not walking out of this family. You're my brother and you always will be, Blaze."
Blaze kicked Pyro and made him fall to his knees. "Pyro, this 'family' is falling apart. Dad is gone, and Mom is losing it. And do you think knowing what you're doing is making it better?"
Pyro laughed harshly and got to his feet. "Blaze, you're deciding to grow a conscience now?"
Blaze shook his head. "No, I'm just now listening to it. Like I should have done long ago."
Pyro lashed out and tried to hit Blaze again.
Blaze grabbed Pyro's wrist and snapped it like a twig. "I'm done getting beat up by you, Pyro. I'm not your punching bag."
Pyro kicked Blaze in his knee cap. It broke and caved in. Blaze fell to the ground with an unearthly scream.
Pyro stood up. "Baby brother, you want to know what it's like being treated like a punching bag? I'll show you. What I put you through is nothing baby brother, nothing! I'm preparing you for the life we have to live after we leave this school. You think they're going to let freaks like us lead normal lives? No. They're going to abuse us and kick us around. And why? Because we're circus freaks, Blaze. And because we're Italian scum. The mob. Gangsters. Drug dealers. That's all we are! And the whole flaming bird thing doesn't help at all. Don't you see, Blaze? Life with Cambio is safe, it's the closest thing to home we've got, baby brother."
Pyro walked across the hall and threw himself against the wall.
A tear rolled down Blaze's cheek. "Pyro, Cambio isn't home. Cambio isn't helping us. He wants to kill us. And everything he's been telling you about the glorious days to come, and how great life is going to be, it's all a lie. They're all lies. Pyro, Cambio isn't home."
"Shut up!" Pyro screamed. "You don't know anything, baby brother. Cambio's the only damn truth here. He's the only one who's going to help us in life. Why can't you see that? Cambio's here to help!"
Blaze shook his head. "Pyro, the only thing Cambio's ever helped you do is turn your back on everything you knew. Cambio's the one who deserves you anger, not me."
Pyro stood up. "That's where you're wrong, baby brother." His voice was colder than ice. "Cambio's the only good thing left in this topsy-turvy world. And those who get in Cambio's way will be crushed. Baby brother, I'm going to give you a chance to fix yourself. But remember, when Cambio wins and you deny him, even I won't be able to protect you from him." Pyro kicked Blaze hard in the ribs, breaking some. "Blaze, remember that."
Pyro walked down the hallway. Blaze curled up and gasped for breath. A tear rolled down his cheek.
The sound of stilettos rang out in the hallway. "Hello? I forgot something and I came to get it."
Blaze gasped for air again.
Veronica walked down the hallway. "He…Blaze? What happened to you?"
"Pyro…," he gasped.
Veronica sat on the ground and put Blaze's head in her lap. "Pyro did this?"
Blaze nodded and closed his eyes.
Veronica stroked his bruised cheek. "Blaze, I'll take care of you. You're safe now."