Genre: Sapphire and Steel
Word count: 1289
My thanks to you, evil_little_dog for the prompt and to sparky955, my brave beta.
“The official name in Blue Mustang, but everyone calls it Blucifer.” The woman’s dress nearly matched the hue of the statue. Her hair danced as the breezes, woken by the nearby airport activity, swept by her.
“Blucifer?” The polar opposite, not a strand of hair moved on the man’s head as he frowned at his partner. He was as his name implied, Steel, and there was nothing movable about him. “Why Blucifer? I understand the blue reference, but the other?”
“It killed its creator and people think his spirit haunts the statue.” Sapphire walked closer to the rearing horse and glanced up, then quickly away, her cheeks pinking up. “The statue is 32 feet high and weighs approximated 9,000 pounds. It was based upon a blue mustang that was rumored to always be able to find grass even in the harshest circumstances and it ran as if it was flying on the wind.”
Steel scoffed. “It’s a statue. How did it manage that?”
“The head fell upon its sculptor, Luis Jiménez, and severed an artery in his leg. He was 65 at the time of his death.” Sapphire concentrated upon other parts of the horse. “His friends and family finished it.”
“That would do it. What is it made of, Sapphire?” Steel could contain himself no longer and walked to the base of the statue and looked up.
“Fiberglass with a steel armature.”
“And anatomically correct.” He placed a hand on the graffiti-covered hoof. Instantly, he tuned into the steel that held the structure in place. He smiled slightly.
“Very much so.” Sapphire knelt and picked up a piece of trash. She studied it for a moment, then released it back to the wind. “Why are people like this?”
“Like what, Sapphire?”
“All this trash, the graffiti, paint the hooves orange. Why?”
“They are your favorite subject to study. I will leave that to you. I am more interested as to why we are here, Sapphire.”
“Time is up to its tricks.” Sapphire gestured to the airport. “Conjecture, Steel. What would be the worst catastrophe to happen at an airport?”
“A crash, I would imagine.”
She wrapped her arms around herself. “And if that crash never happened as it was meant to?”
“The futures of all the fatalities would be rewritten. Those who were meant to die, for one reason or another, would live.”
“And history would be thrown into chaos.”
“We are here to make sure people die?” He spoke softly, knowing how fond his partner were of these humans.
“No, thankfully. The plane must crash, but there are only three people on board. They will be able to escape without injury.”
Steel sighed. “If no one dies, Sapphire, then what difference--?”
“The plane is defective. If it is allowed to take off again, it will suffer a mid-air explosion and hundreds will die. It must crash.”
Steel sighed. “Do we at least know which plane and when?”
“It is upon its final approach.” Sapphire shielded her eyes against the setting sun.
“Sapphire, who is that?” Steel pointed to a lone figure, a young man, kneeling on the ground. He was busy with a knapsack.
“Probably someone coming out to see if they can contact the artist or something. It is Halloween after all, a night when the veil between the living and dead is at its thinnest.”
“You don’t believe such nonsense, do you?”
“I have found with humans, that anything is believable. I will ask him to leave.”
She looked and quickly walked up to the figure as she was much closer. “Excuse me, are you lost? You shouldn’t be out here.”
“I know, but I wanted a better photo of Blucifer.”
“Yes?” He had returned to his study of the statue. It was truly stunning
“There is something odd. Steel, I need you.
No, she doesn’t.
Steel spun and he made a small sound. Sapphire was caught in a silver-blue light, shaking, obviously in great distress.
He took a step and the young man faced him. Instantly, Steel knew it wasn’t a human that stood before him. “Let her go!”
“No and one more step and she will evaporate. Oh, look, she’s already starting to fade. Soon she’ll be mine.”
“Who are you?”
“You can call me Vrijeme .”
Steel frowned. The name stuck in his head. It should mean something but all he could do was stare, his breath coming in short gasps as he watched her writhe It gave him the fortitude to make the necessary calculations in his head. Then he moved, not towards the figure but to Blucifer. He pressed his palms against the hoof and closed his eyes.
You will listen to me, he told the scurrying thoughts. Almost instantly, the metal grew quiet.
You speak to us?
I do, my brothers and sister. Help me.
Move, Dance with me!
How? We are frozen.
Steel felt his hands warming the metal. I will help.
Vrijeme watched Steel clutch the statue’s hoof and laughed. “Your boyfriend’s quite the loser, lady. He can’t even figure out how to help you. We are going to have such a good time together. I often wondered what would happen if an Elemental and a Time Agent coupled. I hear it can be mind-blowing.” He grinned. “Now to turn off the eyes.”
Sapphire’s expression grew even more panicked. “Yes, you see, it was a freak of nature, the combination of the exact position of the earth, the exact position of the plane and Blucifer’s eyes that created that crash. With his eyes out, the plane lands and hello, Chaos!”
He took several quick steps away from her and aimed the signal disrupter at Blucifer’s head. “And it’s Showtime…”
The words caught in his throat as Blucifer turned his head to look at him. “What?”
With a ground-shaking drop, Blucifer stood on four feet, glaring at the figure.
“Up or down it makes no matter to--” He was cut off as a hoof dropped upon him, crushing him the way someone would an insect.
Immediately, the field holding Sapphire collapsed and she fell to the ground, weak and trembling.
Steel, make it look at the plane. Now! She commanded.
The horse’s head swiveled in the direction of the plane, there was a sudden flare from the sun that amplified its eyes and the plane was caught in the glare.
A moment later, the plane went into a steep dive and crashed just short of the tarmac. Sapphire closed her eyes and concentrated upon her breathing.
It seemed a moment later and she was resting in Steel’s arms. She drew strength from him, happily drifting, then suddenly roused herself.
“Steel, were we successful?”
“Yes, the crew is safe and the plane is destroyed.” He stroked her head gently. “Time is again on its proper course.” In the background, the sky was lit orange by the glow of the fire, even as thick clouds of black smoke poured out of the ruptured fuselage.
“I’m sorry I was careless,” she murmured, even as he was guiding her to her feet. “I nearly cost us our mission.
“No apologies are necessary. I didn’t realize who that was until it was nearly too late. Vrijeme is Croatian for Time. We did what we had to. And who are we to say that this isn’t exactly what happened?”
“How did you get the statue to move?”
“Its armature is steel. Steel can be quite understanding and helpful when it needs to be.” He looked back at the once-again rearing horse. “And I don’t expect anyone will notice that its position is slightly altered. If they do, they will simply put it down to Halloween hijinks.”
Then, like ghosts, they were gone.